I thoroughly enjoyed your coverage on school reform in "An Education Evolution" [October 27]. Reading about reformers like Washington, D.C., Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee inspired hope that America's public schools system can, in fact, provide an internationally competitive education. Though I attend one of the best public school districts in the nation, we can certainly do better. Given the financial crisis and national budget deficits, it follows that school funding will not increase. The problem, however, isn't lack of funding. It's lack of efficiency. It takes more leaders like Rhee with the courage to fire school officials, negotiate with unions, and reorganize the system to raise the standard of America's public schools.
Kudos to Michelle Rhee in Washington, D.C., and the staff of the Brownsville, Texas, schools for their attitudes, commitment, and effort ["A Texas-Size Success"]. Their work helps students tremendously but is not the silver bullet we would like it to be. The issues are far broader and more complex than can be solved by schools alone. The Brownsville article indicated that Hispanic and low-income students "outscored their statewide counterparts at all grade levels in math and reading in the elementary grades." It is important that we do not grab on to the easy, comfortable, simplistic idea that families and societies can leave educational achievement to schools; children would be the ultimate losers.