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How To Improve Cash-Flow For More Charter Schools

To the Editor:

Your article "Under New Budget, Charter Schools Cash In," (Oct. 30, 1996) mentions how charter-school founders "often suffer from cash-flow problems when they start."

If, in fact, that is the principal use to which the $51 million of federal funds is put in the form of outright grants, maybe there is a better way to help start many additional charter schools.

That might be a revolving-loan fund, so that the jump-start could be achieved and the money recovered when the state funding kicks in.

Gerald D. Levy
President, Education Group
National Executive Service Corps
New York, N.Y.

Helping Moderately Gifted Involves Challenging All

To the Editor:

In his letter to the editor in your Oct. 30, 1996, issue, Peter Rosenstein has misunderstood the point of my Commentary, "The Miseducation of Our Gifted Children," (Oct. 16, 1996). My point was as follows. Our schools currently teach to the lowest common denominator. As a result, achievement levels of all students are low, and most "gifted students" are bored. However, if schools elevated their expectations considerably, then the lower achievers would achieve at a higher level (there is clear evidence that achievement levels rise in response to higher expectations), and most "moderately" gifted students, currently bored in school, would find themselves challenged and thus not in need of special programming options.

I certainly did not "put down" children as "only" moderately gifted. I advocated getting rid of programs for the moderately gifted and focusing on the profoundly gifted, but only if we sharply elevated our standards. Far from being utopian, the solution that I advocate is one which is implemented in other countries. Some countries in Europe and Asia (for example, France and Japan) have rigorous academic standards for all children, and few special programs for the gifted. Given the greater rigor, countries such as these have fewer children bored in school and in need of special programs. I believe that it is just the opposite of "elitist" and "cruel" to propose a solution that would benefit not only the moderately gifted but also average children as well.

Ellen Winner
Professor of Psychology
Boston College
Chestnut Hill, Mass.

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