Spreading the Wealth to Schools and Pols
"Avid Parents Skew School Equality" (Oct. 6) discusses the influence on public schools by parents who raise funds to support schools attended by their own children. An expert on school funding is quoted saying "parents with means can throw the whole thing out of kilter."
I cannot conceive of any unfairness to society if some parents decide that, in addition to their substantial tax burden, they will aid in the education of their children by privately raising extra funds. This effort in no way detracts from the state funds spent. In fact, is not the nation the loser if parents with this interest do not act on behalf of their children?
To me the solution used in Portland, Ore., wherein a percentage of money raised by concerned parents is funneled to other schools with either less interested or less affluent parents, is merely a sop to political correctness.
But it seems that the solution might instead have application in the area of campaign finance. Would it not be appropriate to mandate that a significant portion of a large contribution to a particular party candidate be given to an opposing candidate or party? Everyone is entitled to free speech, but actions prove that a large political contribution ensures a readier ear and more likely action resulting from the wealthy contributor's free speech than the free speech of the less affluent - no matter how numerous the voices.
To me this is a far more appropriate use of the doctrine of fairness and equality than controlling the relationship between caring and interested parents and their children's school.
La Canada, Calif.
Love thy telemarketer
I'm sure it'll come as no surprise to the author of the opinion-page article "It's Dinnertime, and the Phone Starts Ringing" (Oct. 7) that in this dear and diverse nation of ours, there may be a few of us who don't find telemarketing as much of a nuisance as some of our friends do - or at least we may have found a happier solution to the problem!
When a telemarketer calls, I find it much more satisfying to pause in my busy day and welcome this stranger with courtesy and kindness. It's such a brief encounter! And I can't forget that he or she is a laborer like the rest of us, doing a not-so-easy job to earn a paycheck, feed the family, pay the rent, or perhaps pay his or her way through school.
By trying to follow the Golden Rule - treating callers like the precious individuals they really are instead of as annoying mechanical devices - I' ve enjoyed sharing a few pleasant remarks and made a momentary friend. My hope is that the one on the other end of the line has felt he or she has been touched kindly, been treated fairly and patiently, and hangs up grateful for the goodness exchanged even if no goods have been sold!
Opportunities to love one another, to be caring instead of critical (or just plain self-involved) pass us by every day. When we do take advantage of them, it can be a special treat.
Once I smiled at a man on the street, in simple acknowledgment of his presence, and he burst out laughing. He said, "Well at least you made me smile, I've been feeling miserable all day!" For a brief moment, fellow travelers on this planet blessed and uplifted one another. Isn't that what we're really here for? Try it, you're sure to like it!
Supreme Court appointees
I read with interest "Rehnquist's Imprint Set on Court" (Oct. 3) but noted an error in the sidebar "Supreme Court Snapshot." The list of current justices says that John Paul Stevens was appointed in 1975 by President Carter. Carter was noteworthy in that he was the first president in nearly a century who did not appoint any justices for the high court. Mr. Stevens was appointed by Gerald Ford.
Newport Beach, Calif.
Editor's note: Mr. Davis is correct. The Monitor regrets the error.
Your letters are welcome. Letters for publication must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number for verification. Only a selection can be published and none acknowledged. All letters are subject to editing. Letters should be mailed to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, faxed to 617-450-2317, or e-mailed to email@example.com