Saving lives one infant at a time

For public health nurses, it is no surprise that the city ranks fifth-highest among the nation's most populous counties in the rate of infants who died within 24 hours of birth ("City rates poorly in infant mortality," May 7). Staff at the Philadelphia Nurse-Family Partnership and its complimentary Mabel Morris Family Home Visit Program know firsthand the challenges low-income mothers face to have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies.

These dismal infant-mortality rates did not happen overnight and are not going to go away with one approach. There need to be open dialogue and debate among Philadelphia parents, whose dreams of healthy, full-term babies are dashed, and providers who care deeply about the well-being of families. We should share what works, doesn't work, what is needed, and respectfully listen and learn together. Either we despair about the data or collaboratively become active participants in a variety of multi-sector, people-focused solutions. There are programs that can work to reverse the mortality rates over time.

Kay Kinsey, nurse administrator, Philadelphia Nurse-Family Partnership and Mabel Morris Family Home Visit Programs, National Nursing Centers Consortium, Philadelphia

Once and future city schools?

As fascinating as was Eileen McCafferty DiFranco's description of Northeast High School circa 1939, it does not require time travel to witness well-equipped high schools offering a rich array of extracurricular programs ("Playing 'chicken' against city's students," May 8). Early this month, I traveled with Philadelphia public school students to compete in National History Day Pennsylvania at Cumberland Valley High School in Mechanicsburg - a state-of-the-art facility complete with pool, planetarium, carpeted hallways, SmartBoard technology, two football fields, large library, and more. Until schools no longer rely primarily on property taxes, city students will struggle to learn in rundown dungeons while suburban counterparts study in palaces. As one student said quietly at Cumberland Valley, "This school is making me angry."

Amy Cohen, social studies teacher, Masterman School, Philadelphia, ajcohen@philasd.org

Such legal aid a rare wonder

Two former mayors step forward to help a local politician's son pay substantial legal fees and so-called unrelated expenses ("Fattah son legal fund launched," May 12). Would this have happened for some poor schmo from the other side of the tracks with like needs and similar legal charges?

Dick Jones, Warwick

AP records search tests support

My biases tend to be much more liberal than conservative, but I am extremely disappointed and disturbed by the recent revelations of the Justice Department actions against the Associated Press. While I still have no regrets in not voting for Mitt Romney, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. needs to step down immediately. The credibility of President Obama's administration is at stake.

Paul Kopicki, Narberth