Regarding the Feb. 15 article, "Schools strive for 'no parent left behind,' ": Ideally, education would be a shared partnership between school and home. But the reality is that too many parents are derelict in their duty to their children. When that happens, even the most dedicated teachers are undermined in their efforts. What is little appreciated is just how powerful a role parental involvement plays in the learning process. Anything that teachers and administrators can do to bring parents into the learning loop will pay huge dividends. The challenge is to develop strategies that are specifically geared to each community.
I read with keen interest the Feb. 16 article, "Out of stricken Baghdad, into uncertainty," as an Iraqi and the CEO for Life for Relief and Development, an NGO with extensive operations throughout Iraq. The Iraq crisis should not be defined as an issue of resettling Iraqis outside Iraq. The middle class – professionals, teachers, doctors – have fled, seeking safety. But these are the very same people that Iraq needs to rebuild.
The focus of the international community should be on the temporary decent housing of the fleeing Iraqis within Iraq. Before the US, Jordan, or Syria is asked to take in Iraqis, other provinces in Iraq should be obligated to take in displaced fellow citizens. The US should persuade Iraqi provincial governments to absorb as many displaced people as they can.
Because the concern that the influx of displaced people into safer provinces adds social and economic demands is real, the US should help establish an Iraq fund that gives money to local governments as well as humanitarian organizations to help house and feed these displaced people. Such a policy has the added benefit of pumping much-needed funds into Iraq's economy.
Iraq is not a lost cause. The closer the fleeing Iraqis are to their homes, the stronger the likelihood of their return to rebuild.
In response to David O'Rourke's Feb. 15 Opinion piece, "Looking for courage in China": I have worked in China for three and a half years, and traveled and lived with Chinese all over eastern China. I do not share all the negatives Mr. O'Rourke is stressing.
Do the Chinese still have monstrous problems? For sure! Yet I happen to admire the Chinese for being able to climb up so high after suffering for many centuries and, more recently, under the horrors of the Cultural Revolution. The positive changes they have made since Deng Xiaoping are incredible.
In the Feb. 16 article, "France in bid to salvage waning ties in Africa," a political analyst blames the corruption of Francophone African countries on their having "delayed the kinds of political reforms that English-speaking countries did 15 years ago."
I think that claim would be stronger if there were examples of such success stories in Anglophone Africa, such as the end of corruption in Nigeria, good governance in Zimbabwe, peaceful progress in Sudan, a successful fight against AIDS in Uganda.
In making these judgments and comparisons, it is better to provide some real-life examples.
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