straw purchases

The ongoing protests at Colosimo's gun shop on Spring Garden Street by Philly church people has shed some much-needed light on the issue of straw purchases of handguns in the Delaware Valley ("12 acquitted in Phila. gun-shop showdown," Wednesday).

This group, Heeding God's Call, peacefully forces the issue to remain on the plate at all times. City cops whom I've spoken to have been in total support of the protests, pointing out that the unacceptably easy access to handguns and assault weapons translates into real fatalities for law enforcement as well as the general public. Unregulated access to handguns and assault weapons is an American tragedy.

Todd Kimmell


More money

won't save schools

The editorial "Scholastic deficits" Tuesday concludes: "The lesson is that . . . we must invest more money and effort in improving public education." That lesson is found nowhere in the McKinsey study that is the basis of the editorial. Indeed, the study asks but does not answer, "What is the link between true per-pupil funding in a school or district and the quality and effectiveness of its teachers?" It also notes that "it is possible to spend very high amounts per pupil and have poor results to show for it."

School funding and the quality of public education are perennial issues. It is naïve to think that spending yet more money will lead to improvement.

Andrew Terhune


Summer school

for all who want it

I find the logic confusing in Jonathan Zimmerman's commentary Wednesday, "Save summer school for those who need it." His conclusion is that academically disadvantaged youths should be encouraged to attend summer school, while the same resource is withheld from high-achieving students.

Are we to believe the counterintuitive claim that high-achieving students who actually want to sacrifice their summer vacations gain nothing from these academic programs, while their less- scholastically-advantaged peers either maintain or increase their academic skill set? If such data exist, I would be inclined to agree with Zimmerman's conclusion. However, no such evidence was presented.

If high-achieving students want to go to summer school, why should they be denied that opportunity?

Sam Goodman


Bring detainees

to this country

President Obama did not create this mess in Guantanamo. Dick Cheney did. And in a democracy, that means we are all responsible.

We need to stand up and tell our politicians to support the closing of Guantanamo and bring the detainees here. Our politicians should take responsibility for their role, too, in creating this quagmire.

Elin Pitkapaasi


Cruel cuts

in Pa. budget

If budgets reflect what we care about as a society, the one recently passed by the Pennsylvania Senate reveals a deep bias against children and families.

It cuts the state's contribution to proven programs such as Head Start and Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts by 50 percent; takes child- care subsidies away from thousands of working families; and slashes early-intervention services and support for the Children's Health Insurance Program.

Schools? They would be deprived of funding they were promised a year ago to ensure that every Pennsylvania child receives an adequate education, thus forcing local governments to choose between raising property taxes or cutting programs.

Christie Balka

Director, Child Care & Budget Policy

Public Citizens for Children

and Youth