Letters: FBI and Libraries, Tutoring in America

Renee Montagne and Steve Inskeep read from listeners' letters, weighing in on stories on a Washington library and the Patriot Act, and the rise of tutoring in America; corrections.

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STEVE INSKEEP, host:

And it's time now for your comments. Last week, we brought you the story of Joan Airoldi whose library in Washington State was subpoenaed by the FBI.

Ms. JOAN AIROLDI (Library Director): I was just doing my job one day about a year ago, and I had a phone call that the FBI had stopped in at the Deming Library and wanted to know the names of people who had checked out this book.

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

The book is Yossef Bodansky's "Bin Laden: The Man Who Declared War On America." Jason Newcomb(ph) of Middleville, Michigan, writes that `Joan Airoldi should think more about those who could be hurt in a possible terrorist attack. Obviously, the librarian holds the right to free speech close to her heart, but what about the right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness? Terrorists wish to deny us all of these. I have a word for the librarian to look up: treason.'

Listener Carol Venchen(ph) is also a librarian. She writes from Coos Bay, Oregon, that `the USA Patriot Act, which makes library searches easier, is, quote, "hasty, ill-advised and unnecessary. I want to catch terrorists as much as the next American, but not at the expense of millions of law-abiding citizens.'

INSKEEP: Joe Oravek(ph) of Houston, Texas, found our report ironic. `The library was subpoenaed by an administration whose operating credo is secrecy,' he writes--`rendered prisoners, Mr. Cheney's fight to keep his backroom manager meetings quiet, on and on. Apparently, these privacy privileges do not extend to the average American.'

Earlier this week, we had two stories about kids who are probably spending more time in the library. After hearing our report about the rise of students being tutored, Al McDonald(ph) of Citronelle, Alabama, wondered whether this was an admission that the public schools have failed. `With more tutoring,' he writes, `it looks like every child is being left behind.'

Virginia Calville(ph) finds that many children are left behind in her classroom. She teaches fifth grade for the Santa Ana Unified School District in California.

Ms. VIRGINIA CALVILLE (Teacher): In order to sell academic growth, we were told to select about seven students who were close to scoring proficient on their standardized tests. These students would get extra resources. Students whose chances were slimmer were not offered these extra resources. We had students two to three grade levels behind their peers without access to tutoring. Students are being strategically left behind to increase the odds of success.

INSKEEP: Some of you told us we might need to go back to school. In our story last week about putting parasites on the endangered species list, we incorrectly referred to long-toed salamanders as lizards. But as Kevin Gardiner of Plymouth, Michigan, reminds us, salamanders are amphibians and darn cute ones to boot.

MONTAGNE: A few more corrections now. In our report from Damascus, we said that 20 percent of the Syrian population is unemployed. In fact, 20 percent of the Syrian work force is unemployed.

INSKEEP: And Richard Curtis did not direct the movie "Four Weddings and a Funeral." He wrote it.

Finally, we got this note from Lucinda Hedrich(ph) of Atlanta, Georgia, in response to our report that General Motors wants to eliminate 25,000 jobs.

Ms. LUCINDA HEDRICH (Listener): Last week, my husband and I joined old friends for a jaunt in a well-cared-for 1999 Buick. Sitting in the backseat, I couldn't put my travel books or umbrella in the pockets on the back of the front seat because both pockets were coming off and ripping apart. The seat belt hurt my shoulder so badly that I refused to wear it. It's the little things that GM has forgotten.

MONTAGNE: We promise never, never to forget you, if you write to us at morning@npr.org. But don't you forget to tell us where you live and how to pronounce your name.

This is NPR News.

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