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Longbottom Letter - 10/16/09

Darrell Huckaby's Sunday, Oct. 4, column was disappointing to me. His viewpoint was way off base. He makes the amazing and unprovable claim that "a larger and larger share of the public lives in households that do not value education." No matter how that's explained, it will strike many as racism.

What set Huckaby and the neighbors' kids apart when he was in school? Wasn't he from the wrong side of the tracks? Wasn't his family among the less affluent? He credits the cold war and our fear of the Russians for the increased emphasis on education at that time. Aren't our current hot wars and deep recession enough of an incentive for today's kids?

He writes off the Asians who consistently outscore American children in math and science by quoting news reports that say they don't spend any more time in school than our kids (and grandkids).

Now he says, and I quote, "The primary problem with public education is that we are charged with educating the public." Perhaps he finally sees the light when he says, "We, the people, aren't willing to pay." Hello!

What you do in school is exponentially more important than how long you do it. He said so himself. The teachers I had in the 1930s were no better educated than Huckaby and his fellow teachers except that they had less history to teach. The teachers I had in the 1930s had far fewer tools at hand. Remember a time with no computers; no television; no digital cameras; no calculators? I didn't even see a slide rule until I was a junior in high school. (Ask grandpa about slide rules.)

Huckaby should go back to his classroom with the knowledge that he has the power to change America. Forget the snide comments about our president's place of birth. That's past history.

Yes, America is a great country. Huckaby and his fellow teachers need to spend their time teaching that fact to all their students no matter the number of days you are in class.

Milt Longbottom

Conyers