Bottom line: the child. It is imperative that the child is first.

Bottom line: the child. It is imperative that the child is first.

To improve a child's grades and attitude, parents and teachers need to get together and harmoniously work together for the betterment of children. Children ought not be left behind.

Every child deserves guidance and emotional support. Not everything ought be based on money.

Parents raising children do not get paid, yet it's one of the hardest jobs around. — Jeff Kassman, Central Point

I've now read several letters to the editor in the Mail Tribune suggesting that there are "few to no" cyclists who will use the new bike lanes created as part of Ashland's North Main "road diet." I am one of the cyclists who does use that stretch of bike lane, nearly every weekday — I have done for six years now.

I encounter riders ranging from kids to racers to other commuters, most days. That stretch of North Main was pretty hostile to cyclists and pedestrians prior to the "diet," and now it's much more inviting. I also drive North Main frequently, and so far have had no problems with the new traffic pattern.

As an Ashland taxpayer, driver and cyclist, I think it's a worthwhile experiment, and I'll be curious to see what call is made — to preserve the new arrangement or to revert — in a year's time. — Tom Schuetz, Ashland

In his letter, the author is concerned that our "best and brightest pupils are being shortchanged" because our laws require that special education and bilingual students be included ("mainstreamed") so far as is practical in the already crowded classrooms. This, he argues, "shortchanges" such students and "cheats" them out of the highest quality education.

But he is mistaken. Were we to financially support our public schools sufficiently to reduce class size and to provide the requisite staffing for both "special" and "bilingual" pupils, then all students, including the "best and brightest," would benefit.

As a retired public school teacher, I have witnessed how properly funded mainstreaming has benefitted all students. Beyond the necessary curriculum, pupils also learn to feel and to manifest empathy and compassion for those in our society who are handicapped in one way or another. We need "the three Rs," but we all need to learn, the best and brightest included, moral attributes and behaviors.

Being close to and observing those who are needful or "different" is a learning experience, not of facts and techniques but of empathy and compassion. Such virtues our present society needs more than ever. Scanting them, we do ourselves great damage. — Ragan Cavanaugh, Ashland