The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act will replace junk food in school lunches and vending machines with more healthful options ("Obama signs bill on child nutrition," Tuesday).
Several jurisdictions have taken similar action. The Hawaii, California, New York, and Florida legislatures passed resolutions recommending vegan school options. Last year, the Baltimore public school system became the first in the nation to offer its 80,000 students a weekly meat-free lunch. According to the School Nutrition Association, 65 percent of U.S. schools now offer vegetarian lunch options.
Those who care about our children's health should demand healthful, plant-based school meals, snacks, and vending-machine items.
As someone who climbed Mount Kilimanjaro last year at age 72, I was interested by the story about Martina Navratilova suffering from high-altitude pulmonary edema when attempting the same ascent ("Short of summit, Navratilova quits," Saturday). Undoubtedly, recovering from cancer treatment would impact fitness, but another recently publicized failure by Anne Curry of NBC suggests that the ascent is difficult.
On the contrary, it is mostly a walk where adjusting to the altitude is the main challenge. In my case, we took nine days to ascend, and all members reached the 19,340-foot summit. The article reports that Navratilova's group was taking six days, which is too short. Going more slowly to acclimatize is the best option.
Malcolm L. Watts
With Michael Steele's term running down as the chairman of the Republican National Committee, it is time for some new blood and fewer gaffes ("Steele to seek 2d RNC term," Tuesday). How about Sarah Palin? She is a magnetic draw of the first caliber, and it would keep her off the national ticket in 2012. With her penchant for raising money and her negative polling among centrists, it could be a win-win situation.
Dana Milbank demonstrates that he's not driven by any actual political ideology as much as he's driven by the priorities of "The Village" ("Obama finds his backbone," Tuesday). Like other Villagers, he's really into "hippie punching," showing those gosh-darn peace 'n' love hippies who the "real men" are. President Obama pushes back and demonstrates his manliness, not against Republicans, or Blue Dog Democrats, nor even, as Franklin D. Roosevelt put it, "malefactors of great wealth." No, Obama pushes back against "a backbencher from Oregon" - U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio - who had dared to openly criticize the president's wildly bad priorities, not from a right-wing perspective, which would be perfectly OK from the Village viewpoint, but from a left-wing, regular-people point of view. Shriek! The horror! Naturally, this threat to the social order had to be opposed.
Richmond L. Gardner
The editorial "Up to teachers" (Tuesday) saved the most important recommendation for last, namely that children whose parents aren't involved in their education need not only great teachers but a significant investment in resources.
Disadvantaged children require more services at school, after school, and during the summer. They must attend high-quality pre-school programs. School nurses, counselors, and psychologists are needed to address health, family, and behavioral issues. A broad, rigorous curriculum taught by well-trained and supported teachers must expose children to literature, math, science, history, civics, and the arts. School libraries, nutrition programs, health care, homework help, and career and college guidance also must be available.
Adequate funding is the only way to bridge the education gap for students whose parents can't support them educationally.
Jerry T. Jordan
Philadelphia Federation of Teachers
Here we go again, wasting valuable editorial space railing about the bad teachers in New Jersey ("Firing bad teachers," Thursday). New Jersey is home to some of the best public education in the nation. We consistently rank highly in standardized test scores, we have some of the the highest high school graduation rates in the country, and we send a very high percentage of those graduates on to college, many of them to our outstanding in-state post-secondary schools. So, where are all these "bad" teachers, and why are they doing such a good job?
A young athlete, having just completed an exciting play, celebrates - and we call that unsportsmanlike conduct ("Chill out, DeSean," Tuesday). At the same time, we have quarterbacks taking hits on the helmet, being hit out of bounds, and being speared from the rear. And we agonize over the celebration of the exuberant and highly accomplished athlete. Give me a break!
Peter R. Lantos