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As the authorities of early childhood realize the value of Pre-K, the author of a Dec. 2 letter says "something is better than nothing" for our 3 1/2 - and 4-year-olds.

That "something" should be the very people who have been minimized in our society, trivialized in feminist circles and probably not asked what their answers would be in this equation -- the mothers.

In this equation, take away the children whose mothers do not choose to work but must because they need to bring home a second income. (It's no surprise that we all foot the bill for more government programs, which encroach upon our families'responsibilities.) Now we have left a much smaller group of needy children, who should be spending time in a more stimulating, nurturing environment.

By all means, consensus would dictate that their needs be met. However, I take issue with the call for universal mandated Pre-K for all children being justified by the needs of a few.

I note the urgency of so many "experts," from Hillary Rodham Clinton to the education elitists to the token parents who voice their support at school board meetings and seem to know what's best for everybody else's children.

But I have a solution. First, we should cut taxes so that families can have mom back home with her children instead of spending that money on programs that chisel away at the chance for children to be raised by their parents.

Second, and more cost-effective, we should make Pre-K optional for those children who need that environment and for those parents who choose it.

I want to raise my own children. Leave our preschoolers alone to be the little people a family loves them to be, not sized up for a socialistic work force.

LAURIE KOSTRZEWSKI Buffalo Director, Citizens
for Excellence for Education

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