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When I first saw your headline, "California Policy Calls for Curb on Science 'Dogma"' (Jan. 25, 1989), I thought, "Good, they're going to stop forcing the dogma of evolution down everyone's throat."

Instead, I was astounded to find that the report concerned an attempt to teach evolutionary dogma to the exclusion of all others.

The new policy said that the state's public schools would teach only what could be scientifically proven.

How, then, can they teach the unproven hypothesis of evolution?

Why modernists want to reject any mention of God, when Western civilization has been built on Judeo-Christian belief, is beyond reason.

By teaching their faith in accidentalism and chance--with results that are destructive to our culture--they are teaching a man-god religion that is certainly dogma.

For this to become policy of a state and of publishers is little short of wondrous: It is a rejection of our moral and spiritual culture.

I think students should appreciate and tolerate the beliefs of others; theories should be taught as such, and the religious views underlying them should be identified.


Fred Eager Director, Landmark Academy Wilton, Conn. To the Editor:

In "Youth Volunteer Service Taking Center Stage in Capital" (Feb. 22, 1989), you reported that all legislative proposals currently being considered "reject the idea, sometimes suggested by national-service advocates in the past, that the new program should be mandatory--in effect, a universal 'draft' of young people for military or civilian work."

This assertion is correct in a strict sense; under current proposals, no civil or criminal penalties would be imposed on those who refused to serve.

However, under a bill sponsored by Senator Sam Nunn, Democrat of Georgia, the federal government would effectively compel participation of young Americans by limiting federal student aid to those who "volunteered" for civilian or military service, as you report.

Put another way, this bill does not offer those students who must rely on federal aid a real choice, just an ultimatum: Join up or forget about college.

Although Mr. Nunn's proposal may not mandate universal na8tional service, it would perform a similar function for economically disadvantaged students intent on entering college.


Sally D. Reed Chairman National Council for Better Education Alexandria, Va. To the Editor:

In your article on the "Beethoven Project" ("'We Became the Hopes and Dreams' of All," Feb. 1, 1989), you quoted a project official who cited the ability to tie shoes as one of the skills lacked by the 4-year-old children in the program.

I do not mean to belittle the difficulties faced by these youngsters, but any parent with a young child can tell you that the introduction of Velcro has minimized the importance of knowing how to tie shoes.

In this regard, at least, the Beethoven Project children are fully up to any of their peers.


Marc D. Stern New York, N.Y.

Education Week takes no editorial positions, but welcomes the opinions, comments and ideas of its readers. You are invited to submit commentary proposals, manuscripts, and letters. They should be addressed to: Commentary, Education Week, 4301 Connecticut Avenue, N.W., Suite 250, Washington, D.C. 20008.

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