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Saturnalia

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To the editors:

A small error was edited into my article "Education: Schooling for Dollars" [May 8].

When former Chicago principal Sylvia Peters referred to the Saturn School idea, she was referring to a project that was initiated in 1986 by American Federation of Teachers president Albert Shanker. Rather than being simply "an educational concept being marketed in Florida that [Chris] Whittle has borrowed heavily from," the Saturn School Project was taken up by school leaders in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and Dade County, Florida, where 49 schools are now taking part.

The name came from the Saturn automobile, whose manufacturers claim to be building "the best car in the world from scratch." In a New York Times article Shanker asked, "Isn't it time we had an educational Saturn project?"

Whittle, along with education secretary Lamar Alexander, took up the Saturn theme in an effort to create the "New American Schools" program. Whether this effort helps improve public education or is simply another way to channel public funds into private schools remains to be seen.

Michael Klonsky

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