It is disturbing that so few Pittsburgh children attend their feeder schools ("4 of 10 Pupils Attend Assigned Schools," May 13), and I applaud the district's effort to improve school quality, but true reform must make a commitment to the quality education found in other places in the world.
Pittsburgh's school district is facing budget woes. Also, the teach-to-the-test crowd has forced a brand of reform that does not produce the results it touts, discourages students from learning real critical thinking skills, and punishes, demeans and demoralizes teachers.
When we look at Finland, a country that provides arguably the world's best schools, we see a commitment to equitable funding, a rich curriculum, small class sizes, students with the social and educational supports they need and the true empowerment of teachers.
In the United States, every child's day should be stuffed with a rich curriculum of math, science, English, the arts and physical education. All children should have access to computers, well-stocked libraries and after-school programs.
But, as Finland discovered, that is not enough. The health, both emotional and physical, of children needs to be addressed. Children need meals, door-to-door transportation and comprehensive health care.
Finally, true reform must be led by teachers, the people most qualified to determine what and how children learn.
Many claim we can't afford such reform, but if we desire citizens who can compete in the global marketplace, we can't afford to do anything less.