NY Times 01/03/2006: People reject so-called largess of wealthy

    On the Op Ed page, a couple of truly signifcant letters appeared in reaction to a Times article that I unfortunately missed. But they are stand-alones in the points they make. Donations by private individuals for public sector projects such as public education, are suspect.
    One letter merely questions the efficacy of the funding. "The influence of all this cash is like the River Platte, an inch deep and a mile wide," writes Carla Nordstrom, who describes herself as a "new-teacher mentor."
    "Instead of hobnobing with the mayor and the chancellor, wouldn't it be something if the rich came down into the trenches with those of us who live and work in the schools?"
    The second letter, written by David Campbell of Brooklyn, makes some fundamental points. It is quoted in its entirety below:

    While I appreciate the efforts of philanthropists to donate money to the public schools, their contributions will affect only a small group of students, most of them marginally.
    I would much prefer that they use their considerable financial and "menschy" power to encourage fair tax laws, equitable financing of public schools and national health insurance, among other policies that would greatly improve outcomes for our students and our society.
    Public education is not a charity. It is a vital public good and should be financed as such.
    It could not have been better put. Please refer to the posting on this site about the New York City Leadership Academy, in which similar points are made.

Updated 1/7/2006