Letters to the Editor

Just read and write

Dan Walters reports that we spend $60 billion for K-12 public education in our state (Oct. 3). Sounds like a lot for what it gets. No wonder the experts can’t agree on what should have the priority in spending.

As a veteran high school history teacher of 30 years in an urban high school, my answer is to try to make sure that every child can read and write by the third grade. For those who cannot pass a test, they do not get the “social promotion.” They go to a special class where all they do is read and write. At least one-third of my students could not read the eighth-grade book we had for 11th grade, or could not write a sentence summarizing what we had read.

Sounds expensive? Yes, it would be very, very expensive.

But what we have now is very, very expensive. We have frustrated kids, teachers and administrators, and then serious problems for all aspects of our society. It is not a state problem. It is a national problem, as important and possibly as expensive as our military. So we ignore it.