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I am writing in response to the Oct. 15 letter suggesting that the business world can teach schools how to succeed.

When are we going to stop being told that we need to look to private business to fix the current problems facing public education? Education, like anything else, can be improved. Education, like business, benefits from adequate resources. When a business decides to make a better product, money is spent on research and development. We consistently overlook this reality when we discuss education.

"Choice and competition" is the current rhetoric surrounding education. It's not that simple. We are talking about children and learning, not products, not assembly-line manufacturing, not profits, not cost-saving measures. A recent letter writer suggested, "It's long past time for the public sector to use the cost-containment practices used so successfully in the private sector, such as performance-based advancement and competition." She neglected to mention other practices businesses routinely utilize, such as downsizing, outsourcing and moving production sites to cheap, exploitive labor markets. Are these practices we want to emulate?

Competition, by its very definition, demands that there be winners and losers. Competition, the easy choice, has the potential to improve education for some. Public support and the dedication of resources, the tougher choice, has the potential to improve education for all.

Lisa M Maras Alden

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