In Mary Sanchez's Dec. 15 column commenting on President Obama's "Sputnik moment" remark regarding American student's low test scores, she got one thing right. Writing about high school graduation rates, Sanchez states, "The U.S. rate peaked in 1969 at 77 percent." And while she's right about the rate, she's wrong about the reason.

The reason U.S. rates peaked in 1969 was because the Immigration and Nationality Act was passed in 1965. By 1969 America was experiencing hordes of uneducated, non-English-speaking, welfare-seeking children unceremoniously invading the public schools. Resources were directed to those students' elementary needs, and the education of traditional students suffered.

And just as Sanchez is wrong about the reason U.S. graduation rates plunged, she's also wrong when she writes, "But the talk (Obama's Sputnik comment) always rings hollow. It doesn't get anybody moving."

Maybe Ms. Sanchez missed the last election. People are moving. Many folks are dedicated to changing the misguided 1965 immigration law. Many more are determined to force illegal aliens out of the country and out of public schools.

In order to improve America's educational standard, the legal citizenry needs to send the folks who are dragging it down back to where they belong. — Robert Bennett, Grants Pass

I couldn't help but laugh after reading Tuesday's edition of the Mail Tribune. A ruler separating a dancing couple — is this the '50s?

I thought we were done worrying about Elvis' gyrating hips. We live in a time where sexually explicit images grace every billboard and kids talk amongst each other — as well as adults — about their sensual endeavors with more detail than a boomer could have ever imagined.

Your stance on the way high school students dance isn't the issue; teenagers do what they want to do. The issue is how the school reacts to it.

These public systems are our symbol for education; instead of prohibiting the kids who want to dance from dancing, why not teach those who are uncomfortable around grinding how to deal with it? Teach them how to politely decline a dance offer, how to say no. When a creep at a bar hits on you and makes you uncomfortable, the principal won't be around to cut off his wrist band and kick him out.

Teach the kids how to avoid uncomfortable settings; this will solve your "grinding problem" as well as better your students for having a successful life in the real world. — Kate Jensen, Ashland

May I express my appreciation for the privilege of making quilts for ACCESS Inc.

In 2010, I provided 23 warm quilts for the ACCESS Senior Outreach program.

Thanks to Barbara at ACCESS for 19 packages of batting supplied to me in early 2010. Now as we approach 2011, Barbara has provided 24 winter blankets that are just the right size for batting in the quilts I make.

Also, thanks to the message of need in the newsletter; donors have donated 11 packages of batting. This will keep me very busy in 2011.

I am thankful that all my bodily systems are in good working order at 82 years of age. I am also thankful that I have good eyesight and nimble fingers making it easy to use the sewing machine, hand-tie the quilts and hand-stitch the binding. Thanks again to all who donated more batting for me this holiday season. — Stan Stromberg, Applegate

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