Ross Olson's Web Site

Social Issues: Letters

March 06, 2007
To: Editor Star Tribune (
Subject: Achievement Gap

Robbinsdale Assistant Principal John Cook's commentary on problems of the African American Community ("Achievement gap is just a symbol of a bigger problem," March 6) is true but incomplete. He falls into the trap of "if we can't do everything, then let's not do anything." Schools vouchers would be a start, although they would put a lot of pressure on suburban schools like his.

He mentions family breakdown but fails to elaborate. The loss of moral standards in our culture as a whole, the acceptance of sex outside of marriage as normal and the well-meaning but flawed public programs that replace fathers with government assistance have together produced an epidemic of single mother homes. It is not a put-down of those mothers to recognize that this is at the root of much of the poverty, crime, violence and academic failure.

Ross S. Olson MD

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