Let Ackerman

do some teaching

Re: "All children deserve only the best teachers," Sunday:

As a Philadelphia public school teacher, I am very disheartened by some of the opinions about her teaching staff that school district CEO Arlene Ackerman has voiced lately. While not all of us are perfect, I daresay a huge percentage of us do our utmost to teach our students well every day.

We do this work because we are called to do it. We do it in crumbling, leaky, rodent-, insect-, and mold-infested buildings. We do it with some children who haven't slept, or eaten, or been cared for in any significant way by the people who are supposed to raise them.

If Ackerman thinks we are doing such a poor job, I challenge her to run a series of "master classes" for teachers. Walk into a school with a prepared lesson. No calling the principal ahead of time, no culling the difficult students from the class. The district could make a podcast, so all teachers can learn from it.

Kristin R. Luebbert



Bad students

passed in the past

Re: "Ackerman disowns pressure to pass," Tuesday:

Pressure on teachers to pass students is nothing new. It's been nearly four decades since I began my career with the School District of Philadelphia. It was the same then as it is described now. We were told that even if a child failed a test, we couldn't average in anything less than a 60. Kids with reading levels four or more years below grade level were still passed along.

The Inquirer needs to expose the school district just as clearly and openly as you have the EPA, Vince Fumo, and other frauds. Now is the time to hold schools CEO Arlene Ackerman to her word that students should receive grades they've earned.

Lorna Bearn



Health care

good for Congress

Isn't it positively and hypocritically ironic that so many people in Congress, of both political parties, rail against national health insurance as "socialized medicine" when they are the beneficiaries of the greatest largesse of governmental perks, not only in health insurance, but in many matters?

I want the same type of health care that they have. Period.

Henry A. Seigel


Panetta needs

to keep mouth shut

Re: "Panetta pushes back on Cheney," Monday:

CIA Director Leon Panetta's remarks regarding former Vice President Dick Cheney's criticism of President Obama's national security policy were unfortunate.

The director of the CIA must not engage in politics or in political debate while in office. I know it is difficult for a former politician to keep his mouth shut about politics, but if Panetta cannot, he must be replaced as director of the CIA.

William A. Wheatley



Nutter must

live up to promise

Re: "The Throwaway," Sunday:

Mayor Nutter's election promised to be a transforming event for Philadelphia. Many hoped he would set an example for how we, as citizens, could collaborate to make this a better city to live and work in.

But as Buzz Bissinger's commentary points out, the mayor is missing an opportunity to do something great, and squandering the euphoric public support that greeted his election.

We need mayoral leadership that unleashes the type of spirit this great city shows for its sports teams, but on behalf of solving the city's problems.

Arthur Bousel



Was comparison

made to Jesus?

In his column Monday, "The Great Transcender," Charles Krauthammer derogatorily says of President Obama: "Traveling the world, he brings the gospel of understanding and godly forbearance. We have all sinned against each other. We must now look beyond that and walk together to the sunny uplands of comity and understanding. He shall guide you."

A "gospel of understanding and godly forbearance" sounds to me like the gospel of Jesus Christ. He was crucified for bearing witness to this gospel, because it calls us to take personal risk and place a new way of life above our own.

Daniel R. Wagner


Two states not

the right solution

Re: "Netanyahu hints at Palestinian statehood," Monday:

It is a dangerous mistake with grave consequences to talk of creating a "second state" when, in reality, another Arab terrorist state in the Middle East will not reduce terrorism or bring peace.

Bob Guzzardi

Bryn Mawr