In response to Sue Stengel and Connie Rice's article ("Private Schools: 'Many Who Apply Will Not Be Admitted,'" Oct. 27) against school vouchers, I would like to agree with them that not all of those who apply to private schools will be accepted. There just aren't enough private schools or spaces available.I have been a teacher in private schools for many years and a mother whose children have gone through the private school system. I am not wealthy, my children who are sending their children to private school aren't wealthy, and neither are a majority of the parents of children I have taught and encountered in private schools. On the contrary, the school I work for helps several families who are having financial problems.Private schools charge anywhere from $4,000 to $7,000 a child per year. The vouchers would either totally pay for a child's education or substantially lift a heavy burden.
Our first concern should be in educating children. Public schools are getting worse, attested to even by those against vouchers.
Public education is extremely important. Yet the funds for improving and keeping public schools in the forefront of excellence seem to be on the back burner. If it were the priority, then perhaps we wouldn't see a clamor for vouchers.
Miriam Fiber, Los Angeles
My daughter, Kayla, attended a public school from first until fifth grade. She brought home D's on her report cards and had no interest in obtaining an education. This school was surrounded by million-dollar homes and widely regarded as the best public elementary school in Los Angeles county. Still, my daughter was failing.
I embarked upon another strategy: private school. Kayla's new $4,100-per-year school was not situated in a rich neighborhood, did not have a good student/teacher ratio and offered low teacher salaries. Yet, Kayla brought home straight A's and repeatedly told me, "I like this school much better because now I'm getting a good education."
In September, I enrolled Kayla temporarily at a public middle school - again praised as the best in the area - for another comparison study.
She found that many of the students were smoking weed and having sex, and remarked, "Mom, it's not like my school. It's so easy, and the kids are so stupid. They don't even care about learning." I knew the kids were not really stupid; they were just as capable as my daughter, but they were trapped in a failing public school system.
The best public schools are often worse than the less expensive private schools. A yes on Proposition 38 is California's only chance for improved education.
Charlotte Laws, Sherman Oaks
I have changed my position 180 degrees and now support the $4,000 school vouchers. The cost of educating a child in Los Angeles public schools exceeds $6,000 per year. Each voucher student represents a savings to the taxpayer of more than $2,000 per year. Also, reducing the number of students in our public schools will help reduce overcrowding and the need for new schools.
Robert Ellyn, Calabasas
Prof. David Myers
Surely, the headlines on the two editorials on your back page were transposed ("A Time to Mull" and "Facing Truths," Oct. 27).
Prof. David Myers is the one taking time to mull. In the course of this mulling, he actually advises Israeli and worldwide Jewry to search their souls with a "heshbon hanefesh." What incredible chutzpah!On the other hand, Rabbi Dov Fischer is simply facing truths about what our brothers and sisters in Israel are up against - an implacable foe bent on our destruction.
We must pray daily for the safety of the Jews of Israel and the brave young soldiers who protect them. We are one.
Yossie Kram, Los Angeles
Prof. Myers appears to morally equate a remarkably disciplined defense against generally orchestrated mob attacks - whose individuals have chosen to be there, with the cold-blooded murder of captives - or a hot-blooded version, followed by a hate orgy of mutilation. I wonder, too, if the recent suicide bomb attempt is another "victim" for which Israeli and American Jews must repent?
However, perhaps Myers' call for his version of heshbon hanefesh could be taken more seriously if he could produce one counterpart to at least do the same - in the Arab press - concerning clerical calls for the mitzvah of slaughtering the Jews.
The dropping of the charade of anti-Zionism is the real truth that we should face here.
Elliot Pines, Los Angeles
It's interesting that pro-Arafat spokespeople and others who support him are bad-mouthing the prospect that General Ariel Sharon may assume a position of influence in the Israeli government. What a hypocritical stance they take.
It was not too many years ago, when many in Israel resisted the radical idea of negotiating with a murderer like Arafat, the Arabs scream back that no one has a right to tell them who they choose to represent them. And supporting them, the appeasement forces in and outside of Israel lectured us with this specious argument: When you are in a dispute, you can only negotiate with your enemy; hence, it follows that the Israelis, like it or not, must negotiate with Arafat.
Purely on the point of the survival of the Jews of Israel, the very fact that Sharon is so universally feared and despised by Israel's Arab enemy is the best recommendation Sharon could get to become a leader in Israel's government who will be best to promote the security of his nation.
Leon Perlsweig, Calabasas
I was thrilled to read David Evanier's well-written article on Jewish Vocational Service (JVS) ("A Beacon of Hope," Oct. 27). The article's breadth was impressive, and I am sure that it informed many Jewish Journal readers how JVS can help them find better jobs, learn new skills and hire strong employees.I'd like to point out that JVS also provides many wonderful services to our community, including the JVS Jewish Community Scholarship Fund. This year, the fund distributed $334,000 in scholarships to 152 Jewish college and university students.
Your readers can call JVS at (323) 761-8888 or (818) 464-3222, or visit us online at www.jvsla.org.
Vivian B. Seigel, Executive Vice President/CEOJewish Vocational Service
I enjoyed Michael Levin's Daddy Track column ("We're No Angels," Oct. 13). Michael seemed to express that he would welcome feedback from other Jewish fathers relative to the issues described in his column. Is there a way to reach him via e-mail?
Harlan S. Baum, Los Angeles
Editor's Note: Michael Levin's e-mail address will appear in future issues of The Jewish Journal.Israeli Conflict
Helen Schary Motro should first ask why a 12-year-old boy was in a crowd of stone-throwing, bloodthirsty people and then ask Jamal what right he had to allow his son to be there ("Our Jamal," Oct. 13).Instead of shedding tears for Jamal and his son, Motro should shed tears for the two Israeli soldiers who were beaten to death.
M. Saldinger, Irvine
In "Messing Around at Shoah Foundation Brunch" (Oct. 27, Circuit), Nivola Bulgari did co-host the event but was not vice chairman. Also, June Beallor was the producer of "The Last Days," not Sam Gustman.In "A Lesson Plan from Israel" (Oct. 27), we neglected to mention that the exchange program between students at Milken Community High School and Tichon Hadash school in Tel Aviv takes place under the auspices of the Tel Aviv-Los Angeles Partnership of The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles.