- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 18, 2005

Pre-kindergarten works with parents

Michael Smith’s concern for children’s well-being is understandable but misplaced (“Preschool loosens parent-child bonds,” Life/Schools, Monday). Contrary to Mr. Smith’s assertions, meaningful parent involvement is a key element of all quality pre-kindergarten programs. Moreover, decades of solid academic research have proved that children who attend high-quality, voluntary pre-kindergarten programs have stronger educational and social skills than children who do not.

Forty states and the District have some type of publicly funded pre-kindergarten program. None of them is compulsory, nor should they be. Parental choice is paramount in any pre-kindergarten system, and naturally, some families opt out. Add to this the fact that most programs are half-day, and Mr. Smith’s concerns about family disruption are without merit.

High-quality, voluntary pre-kindergarten complements and enhances good parenting. A good pre-kindergarten program is built around parents’ expectations; they should feel welcome and involved. Pre-kindergarten presents the perfect opportunity to engage parents early in their children’s education.

Finally, it also is important to note that working mothers and stay-at-home mothers opt to send their children to pre-kindergarten at virtually the same rates. As Mr. Smith himself says, “Supporting what we know works and allowing parents to freely choose is the wisest course of action for a child’s early education.” Armed with evidence from more than 40 years of studies showing the benefits of pre-kindergarten, families are doing just that.


Executive director

Pre-K Now


Disgraceful Dick Durbin

Although reading the statements by Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin, Illinois Democrat, comparing U.S. treatment of captured terrorists to the acts of Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot in your lead story Thursday morning (“Gitmo called death camp,” Page 1) ruined my breakfast, upon further reflection, I decided your bringing this to light is a good thing for the country.

It demonstrates better than anything the Republicans could say that the Benedict Arnold wing of the Democratic Party is firmly in control and that the Democrats are not serious people, particularly when our national security is involved. It proves that voters should not entrust such people with control of the executive or legislative branches of the government.

Apart from the comparisons being absurd on their face, it is interesting that Mr. Durbin — who has never trusted the FBI, as can be seen from his efforts to stem its powers under Section 215 of the Patriot Act — relies on one e-mail reportedly sent by one FBI agent. Is this his idea of valid intelligence gathering?

His comparison of holding suspected terrorists at Gitmo to President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s decision to intern Japanese Americans during World War II is disingenuous, at best, and demeans Japanese Americans who were citizens when they were rounded up and placed in detention camps, not foreign terrorists whose goal was to destroy the United States.

Finally, the examples of torture in the FBI memo read into the record by Mr. Durbin demonstrate just how removed this politician is from the realities of life in America. He apparently does not grasp how many rural Southern and urban Americans would love to have cold air conditioning in their homes. Mr. Durbin also apparently is whisked on a magic carpet — or sound-isolated limousine — between his home in Virginia and his air-conditioned office in the Dirksen Senate Office Building — otherwise, he would know that driving through the streets of Washington or walking the perimeter of Union Station subjects ordinary people to loud rap music on a daily basis.

Mr. Durbin’s comments reflect a statement by another senator from the Democratic Party, white supremacist Benjamin R. “Pitchfork” Tillman of South Carolina, who aptly observed in the late 1800s: “The Democratic Party can always be relied upon to make a … fool of itself at the critical time.”



I know I am not the only citizen who is getting fed up with Democratic politicians in the Senate bad-mouthing our country. The Democratic politicians in the Senate say they are supporting the troops, but then they turn around and stab them in the back by comparing U.S. military action in support of the war on terror to what the Nazis, Soviet Union and the Pol Pot regime did.

Most of the Democratic politicians who are bad-mouthing the United States and our military have two things in common: They have never served a day in the military, but they have spent the vast majority of their lives as politicians. While soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines are fighting and dying to protect our way of life, Democratic politicians in the Senate are giving our enemy support on a daily basis. What honorable citizen in a position of power would deliberately, day after day, night after night, continuously try to poke a stick in the eye of the vast majority of the citizens of our country who are either supporting the war or fighting against the terrorists who want to destroy our way of life? The answer has become quite clear to me.

The Democratic politicians in the Senate want the war on terrorism to fail for their own political gain. The great thing is that they will not succeed this time because nobody watches CBS News like they did during the Vietnam War.



Nats management and All-Star votes

I’m not surprised by Mark Zuckerman’s report “All-Star votes few for Nats” (Wednesday, Sports) as I have been to eight games so far this season and never even saw an All-Star ballot until Sunday, when I asked an usher for one. I told him that the group I was with could use another 31 ballots and told him where we were sitting. He said he would get some more for us, but he never did.

I don’t think Mr. Zuckerman and Frank Robinson have it right that the fans, being new to baseball in Washington, don’t know how to get National players “elected” to the All-Star Game. I think the organization is not doing a very good job of getting the ballots into the hands of the fans. It should have people at every turnstile handing out ballots as we come through the gate and making big advertisements for the All-Star game over the public address system and on the scoreboard.

C’mon Nationals front office. We’ve got the players … get us some ballots to use to vote for them.


Purcellville, Va.

Time to reform the United Nations

In response to your Thursday editorial “A solid approach to U.N. reform”: I believe organizational reform at the United Nations is long past due. While the United Nations has had success helping to fight world hunger and conquer deadly diseases, those successes are coupled with spectacular failures, including the Rwandan genocide and the Oil for Food scandal.

The United Nations was an ambitious attempt to bring world powers together to address and solve such common problems as poverty, disease and hunger and also to act as a neutral observer and mediator for global disputes. It has fallen far short of this goal, and unless serious reform is undertaken, its relevance and place in a global society is threatened.

Recent scandals that have plagued the organization have only underscored what many already knew: Its sanctions and decisions have been ineffective and have helped breed a culture of corruption.

The House has passed a bill qualifying the dues that America pays with the high expectation of reform. America’s dues have long been an issue, but I believe connecting this money to real, positive reform in the United Nations is the right thing to do. This seems to be the only real leverage with which to effect change.

The time for reform is now, especially as reports connect U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan with still more troubling news about the recent Oil for Food scandal.

We stand at the crossroads in regard to the future role and participation of America in the United Nations. In order for this organization to be taken seriously by the United States, it must effect real changes and real progress. Otherwise, it will be sidelined and remembered most for its grand ideas and its wasted potential.



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