Regarding departing visiting editor Chris Ricci's comments concerning school voucher plans ("Visiting editors' parting shots: Oil, vouchers and volunteering," March 30, Page B-6), I take issue with his statement about public schools holding a monopoly on education and being behind the times on educational practices. I know of only one way to teach a 6-year-old how to read, and that's with phonics and readers suited to their grade level -- not with laptops and spreadsheets (though these techniques are increasingly used in the upper grades of public schools).
There are moderately priced charter, parochial and private schools from which parents can choose if desired, schools that would use the same basic reading and math programs as public schools.
I am mistrustful of the popular concept of letting "free markets" solve all our problems. This trendy approach, as used by the Bush administration and Republicans, has not helped our economy; it has resulted in American jobs being exported overseas and higher prices here at home. A voucher system could have a similar effect. By opening "mom and pop" schools in every neighborhood, how does the state make sure children are being taught to high standards by qualified personnel? Free markets will not ensure this.