Two articles in this issue should cause every family to pause and rethink present notions of "higher learning." "Higher idols" (Aug. 27) is a snapshot of how things have been done for decades. "Career crisis" is a wake-up call about how things have changed. Today it makes little sense to saddle ourselves and our kids with huge debts to obtain something that no longer guarantees the type of employment one desires.
Katherine Hardesty; Glen Ellyn, Ill.
Every June brings laments about grads who feel disappointed and betrayed when they cannot land a $45,000 job in their (sometimes unwisely) chosen field. The careers will come when grads add perseverance, experience, and maturity to their degrees. The real value of my college education was learning to analyze and reflect, and developing the skill of lifelong learning.
Cheryl von Drehle; Bloomfield, Mich.
You state that "colleges have an obligation not to shower donated money on people who don't need it." Actually, colleges use arbitrary and often unfair rules to decide who needs it and then, in their own little neo-Marxist world, raise tuition to fund their redistribution of wealth.
William J. Boersma; South Haven, Mich.
To Krieg Barrie, the designer of your Back to School cover: Well done! It is simple, but very effective.
John McGowan; Matthews, N.C.
It's almost as popular to demonize teachers unions as it is to suggest charter schools will solve America's education woes, so it was a little surprising to read of the problems of schools in Texas-a state with no teachers unions. Perhaps unions are not the only source of problems. The link between parental indifference and school problems deserved more than a sidebar ("Problem parents," Aug. 27).
James Hickman; Worthington, Ohio
As a public school teacher, I agree that increased spending has not produced a better educational product. But I challenge the assertion that increasing student-teacher ratios does not harm the quality of education. Average classroom enrollments are increasing because most of the increases in teacher staffing are in special education and academic coaching, not regular classrooms. Homeschool and private-school parents and students know small student-teacher ratios make a difference.
John M. Graham Jr.; Shelbyville, Ky.
My concern, as a PCA pastor and Christian high-school teacher, is the seeming blindness of Bible-believing denominations to the conflict between the public education system's mission and the biblical parental mandate for raising children. Here in California, the government takes the approach that parents have only the responsibilities and rights over their children that the state grants them.
Randy Martin; Bakersfield, Calif.
Janie Cheaney writes that universities' "walls surround nothing but noise." Indeed, given online education, the university is no longer needed to transmit knowledge. If degrees were awarded for passing well-designed tests, universities would no longer define what counts as an education. Individuals rooted in a faith community and responding to the needs of curiosity, research, and employment would do a much better job of educating themselves.
Richard Briggs; Belpre, Ohio
As director of Hope Christian Academy, I have encouraged our teachers, students, and parents to utilize Sal Khan's tutorials. After studying his format, I had no qualms about our students logging on for personal instruction and review, but the program should not take the place of teachers. It is a great support for students with learning differences or learning disabilities.
Jill B. Sinclair; Columbia, S.C.
It is wonderful to see how one committed Christian can have such a powerful impact on the lives of young students in an inner-city school setting. We need to pray that God will continue to raise up young men and women like Gian to enter the public school arena.
David R. Christenson; Lynnwood, Wash.
With their caring, open-door policy, Turkish Muslim school administrators are "grooming" parents. They intend to proselytize, and American taxpayers are funding their subtle tactics.
Mary Alexander; Indianapolis, Ind.
God knew that I needed this encouragement and perspective from Joel Belz. After moving my elderly parents across the street from me last November, I have been blessed to be a daily part of their lives and challenged by the reality of their new dependence on me. I thought God had thoroughly sanctified me through my young adult son, but that was nothing compared to what He is squeezing out of me in this latest relational adventure.
Carol Rose; Niceville, Fla.
It is sad to see our parents getting older, but there are blessings that come from it. In today's society, we all need to stop, look, and listen to our parents, relatives, and their friends. We the church should be taking hold of this, not the government, but we have become so selfish I can see why the government would step in.
Brian T. Keating; Windsor, England
This article detailed exactly why a Christian should never vote for Mitt Romney: He gives the vast majority of his charitable donations to the Mormon Church and Brigham Young University, both institutions well known for missionary zeal. I have no doubt that Romney would use his new stature as president to further the Mormon cause.
John T. "Tug" Miller; Saint George, Utah
As much as we appreciate your magazine, we were disappointed with "Money, meet mouth." While it may have accurately reported candidates' tax-deductible contributions, there is no way to know what they may have given off the record. God calls many of us to give anonymously or to causes that are not officially recognized as charities.
Toni Rhoads; Oscoda, Mich.
The interview with Bradley Wright persuaded me that perhaps many of our evangelical churches have become infected with a disease usually associated with the media, namely, the "bad news sells" virus. Throughout church history there have been those who were convinced they were part of the last generation. Those who preach only gloom and doom are in danger of alienating people, denying history, and perhaps even denying the power of God.
Mike Carlson; Weeki Wachee, Fla.
I take issue with indicting doomsday evangelicals for concocting myths to support our theology. And Wright is wrong to paint a rosy picture while the economy is tanking, morals are in the toilet, Islam is declaring jihad, and socialism threatens our freedoms. Yes, science and technology have made vast improvements for humanity, but that hasn't slowed our sliding toward Armageddon.
Gary Karwoski; Stickney, Ill.
For nine years, I was a prison inmate's wife. I went through all those things Andrée Seu mentioned and it was, every trip, a lesson in "can you follow the rules?" I would bring our three young sons on the two-hour trip to the prison, where we made sure we never stepped out of turn, had coins in a see-through purse, never pulled on a safety gate, and always arrived at the proper times. It was only 10 years ago, but it brought back the memories it should. We were all there for the same reason: to be families and receive "undivided attention."
Denise Harvey; Auburn, Calif.
I come down on the side of "yes, he can." Just because a person is a Christian is no guarantee that he'll make a good president or a good plumber, for that matter. If Romney is the Republican nominee, I hope Christians will support him.
Paul Stone; Dublin, Calif.
Submitted by Amy Osborn
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