Education funding should be increased Thank you for the recent article informing us of the growing number of suburban families living at the poverty level ("New map of child poverty," June 18). I am concerned for these children's early education. Americans have identified education as a top national priority. Early childhood education is the critical first step in adequate education for all Americans.
The proposed cuts by Congress could lead to at least 65,000 children being denied access to Head Start. The program needs funding increased to $5.3 billion. This level of funding would enable the program to reach 1 million children by 2002.
Congress must realize that early childhood education is an excellent public investment.
Alice McVey Boulder, Colo.
Reservists: weekend warriors no more
In "Building bridges and a better future" (July 15) the author does an excellent job of chronicling how the men and women of America's National Guard and Reserve are helping rebuild large portions of Central America that were devastated by hurricane Mitch last November.
Although the author succeeds in communicating the facts about the Guard and Reserve deployments to the region, he seems to lack a clear understanding of just how far the nature and purpose of reserve service has changed since the cold war ended.
By referring to reservists as "weekend soldiers" - a term usually (and erroneously) cast as "weekend warriors" - he does a significant disservice to the men and women who serve our nation in reserve. He also asserts that, given their US deployment in Central America, "there's little chance they'd be sent much farther from the US."
Far from being the "weekend warriors" of the past, the 1.4 million men and women who serve in our reserves today are being called upon to an unprecedented extent. Over the past three years, they have contributed to an average of 13 million duty days annually to Department of Defense missions and exercises, which is the equivalent of adding 35,000 personnel to the active force.
In short, reserve service is no longer confined to one weekend a month and two weeks' annual training. Reservists regularly deploy for six months or more.
While thousands of their comrades are building bridges of hope in Central America, thousands more are serving around the globe, including more than 5,000 reservists who recently deployed to the European theater in support of the air campaign over Kosovo.
Simultaneously, hundreds of reservists are also serving in Bosnia -indeed, more than 18,000 have involuntarily been called to duty in the Balkans since 1995 - and in southwest Asia, where members of the Guard and Reserve are helping enforce the no-fly zones over Iraq.
These deployments underscore the vital contributions being made on a daily basis by reservists. Wherever US military forces deploy, you're likely to see a reservist. The bottom line is that the National Guard and Reserve form an integral part of today's Total Force, "weekend warriors" no more.
Charles L. Cragin Washington
Acting assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs
A groundbreaking invention
I enjoyed "To Americans, gee-whiz gizmos define century" (July 7) very much. However, I was disappointed that the accompanying list of inventions did not include the transistor, which allowed electronic miniaturization and did away with vacuum tubes and the need for huge power supplies to run them.
Daniel Alexander Olympia, Wash.
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