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posted: 10/13/2012 5:00 AM

Return to a time of fewer excesses

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We older readers will probably remember going to grade school classes with class sizes of 25 to 30 kids who were about 96 percent white. In my Chicago public school (Headley) I had a friend named Jose and a Korean friend named Kim. They were the only foreign students who weren't European whites that I can remember.

That was in the 1950s when the McCarthy hearings were going on and "under God" was added to the Pledge of Allegiance." Almost every one of my classmates had a married mom and dad. My mom was divorced, so we were a one-parent family.

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The Catholic schools had plenty of uniformed students, and I think public and Catholic students both received about equal educations then.

Nowadays, a free public education is becoming a future dodo bird. Only countries on a sound economic footing can offer, or afford, free public schooling. Folks retire and move south to get lower taxes and costs.

In the U.S. 40 percent of children are now born out of wedlock and 51 percent of births are unplanned. This means more and more kids are without a quality parental (or governmental) support group.

Also, there seems to be larger gaps between the financially well-off kids and those whose families struggle with the costs of books, class photos, a computer or "prom stuff." Maybe we should go back to having kids decorating the gym where the prom would be held so no kids are left out because of high costs for all the expensive frills that have become standard.

Jim Peterson

Hoffman Estates

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