Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Getting at the Roots of Student Apathy

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Getting at the Roots of Student Apathy

Article excerpt

Your Aug. 25 article "At school, race gap widens again" is clear and thoughtful in its assessment of why there is such a gap in academic achievement between black and white high school students. The article saves the most poignant and provocative point for the reader at the end, suggesting the reader consider culture as a part of the solution.

I would agree that young African-Americans start at a disadvantage if they are coming from an environment that isn't "serious about learning," no matter what kind of teachers, books, and buildings can be provided for them via funds.

My question is: Who was responsible in the first place for creating this environment that has promoted such lethargy and apathy? A study of US history, and who's been in control, might reveal that considering "white" culture, as well, is worthy in understanding this complex issue.

Once again, the Monitor should be commended for including and dealing with complexity, as most of mainstream media turns the other way.

B. Patterson Dundee, Ore.

Gun ownership's relation to crime

The Aug. 21 opinion piece by John Lott makes some thought- provoking points, especially the one that media coverage of mass shootings gives a very negative impression of gun ownership. However, I cannot accept his premise that gun ownership would prevent much crime and violence from occurring, and that this is never reported.

Mr. Lott claims that studies show that much violence has been prevented by brandishing a gun. Does he realize how much this sounds like taking the law into your own hands? As a teacher of comparative government, I am constantly made aware of the difference in the level of rule of law that a country has versus its dependence on the "rule of gun," and the continued instability in a country that depends more on the latter.

Lott overlooks so many additional social, political, and cultural problems that come from gun ownership. I strongly urge Lott to rethink his premise. …

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