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Public schools need the spotlight

This letter is in response to your recent piece about a boy from the South Bronx attending Deerfield Academy, an expensive private school, on full scholarship ("Boy in two hoods," Learning, Aug. 12).

The program he attended at the East Harlem School to groom him for this scholarship is commendable in that it recognizes kids with potential for high-academic achievement and prepares them for more-challenging high school programs. High-achieving students, however, should and do have options available to them in the public education system. Private schools should not be glorified as the educational pinnacle in this country. One of the great benefits of our democracy is public education, and every effort should be made to support and improve it.

Why doesn't the Monitor write something about the dangerous high school in the South Bronx that Emmanuel would have attended? What is being done there to improve the situation? What about the educators there who battle the worst conditions in the country? Or why not feature the best of the public schools in New York City?

The push to marginalize and dismantle public education through vouchers and privatization is a huge threat to democracy. Skimming out the best students from public schools and sending them off to private ones is an example of this, and the "isn't he a lucky boy?" tone of the article was dismaying.
Amy Bannon
Ludlow, Vt.

The heart of Liberia's civil war

Regarding your Aug. 8 article "For Liberians, old ties to US linger": Thank you for your coverage of Liberia's troublesome situation. I encourage the Monitor to take the path least traveled in journalism with regard to Liberia: Please discuss Liberia as a country established not only by former enslaved Africans from America, but also by the indigenous ethnic groups that inhabited the region before the Africans from America did.

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