An April 5 editorial, "The poor's performance,'' lamented the research results which reveal that poor and minority children have lower high school graduation rates than other children, and if they can make it into college they are often problematic students because they have poor preparation.
What is poor preparation and what can be done to improve the education of all of our children? An essential skill to succeed in school and in society is the ability to read. The ability to read with ease for study and work and the motivation to read for pleasure and for self learning are the trademarks of an educated person.
Reading is essential to success in high school and college and many of these students from poor and minority families never become capable readers. Even fewer students are able to read scientific and technical material which is essential in many professions.
The National Research Council states in "Preventing Reading Difficulties in Young Children" that "the majority of reading problems faced by today's adolescents and adults are the result of problems that might have been avoided or resolved in the early childhood years."
Let us have public discussion and implementation of research-based best practices that promote early literacy development for all the children in our community.
I thank The Blade for this challenge to debate and hope that it will take a leadership role in a Reading Summit for All.
Elizabeth S. Ruppert
Editor's note: Elizabeth Ruppert is emeritus professor of pediatrics at the Medical College of Ohio.
With the passing of Pope John Paul II, I pray that the media will look at the Catholic Church in a more positive light. The current reflective and reverent media coverage of the Pope's death and the church is a welcome change.
Most priests and religious quietly live lives that mirror this great man of God. I know I speak for many when I look at how my life was profoundly blessed by priests who invested time and energy in my life. There are countless positive examples that could be listed. I must include the Jesuits at St. John's who teach and live humility, excellence, and that it is always better to give than receive. This Catholic school and many like it send not only well educated but generous and humble stewards of Christ's gifts.
Pope John Paul II lived the Gospel and truly followed the command of Christ to "go into all the world and preach the gospel" (Mark 16:15). Pope John Paul II is respected and loved by all faiths and governments.
The world acts like a cafeteria and chooses what parts of the Gospel it feels is relevant. Like Christ, John Paul II even forgave and ministered to the man who wanted him dead. He, like Christ, lovingly and boldly showed us how to live and prepare for an eternity with God. Pope John Paul never watered the Gospel message down or made it politically correct to please an audience. Pope John Paul II will no doubt be named John Paul the Great.
Two people passed away last week. One was an unwilling pawn of the circus created by political opportunists. The other died with dignity. Consistent with his faith, the Pope refused life support. During his life he taught us how to live. In death he showed us how to die.