I found a recent forum letter titled "Public schooling is crucial" to be somewhat puzzling.

The writer links "a literacy rate of 92 percent during the colonial period" in Massachusetts to public schooling. The no-nonsense schooling of the Colonial Era can hardly equate to today's version. Reading, writing and arithmetic were "taught to the tune of the hickory stick." Funding was local - not federal - and the curriculum, while basic, reflected the morals of the local community.I have it on good authority that some of today's high school classes are so devoid of classroom order that learning (for those interested) is virtually impossible. This situation is not generally the fault of the teacher but lies with the idiocy of our permissive society.

Perhaps that is why some (including the widow of the late Martin Luther King) are pleading that inner-city school students be allowed to attend Catholic schools or the equivalent thereof.

The governor of the aforementioned state of Massachusetts, during last year's State of the State address, bragged of the success of "charter schools." Apparently he feels all is not well with public edu-ca-tion.

Add to the mix the propaganda of contemporary curriculum, which too often includes what many feel is environmental extremism - something ranging between tolerance to endorsement of sexual deviancy and New World Order philosophies; you just don't have the same public school system that existed up to a few decades ago.

The public school system is in no danger of becoming extinct - unless it is proved that private schools can do a better job for less money.

Lillian Gardiner

Provo