Parents critical for schools to flourish

In the April 6 guest commentary, "Teachers aren't to blame for most of school's problems," the author places the blame on penny-pinching taxpayers. What's the average parent/taxpayer to think?

The challenges of a classroom are well beyond most people's capabilities. As the author pointed out, a high percentage of new teachers can't make it. What's the real challenge facing America's need for thoughtful, skilled and educated children?

The home environment and family dynamic required to provide learning and social skills well before the classroom years begin is lacking.

We need parents who emphasize the importance of reading, respectful behavior and school performance.

Teachers do good work when kids are ready to learn and show up with a respectful attitude.

Let's stop blaming teachers, taxpayers and corrupt school district administrators and figure out how to save the millions of our kids whose lives are shortchanged because the parent lacks the interest or loving skills or maturity to prepare their children for a life of opportunity.

Stephen P. Schaffer

Oakland

Intolerance shown by both extremes

This nation is becoming more polarized because of the far left and the hard right. This is a travesty and is contraindicative of independent thinking.

The recent forcing out of Mozilla's CEO by GLBT members of the community and company employees is outrageous for his supporting gay marriage is intolerant.

Likewise, businesses that refuse to prepare wedding cakes for gay couples is as equally insolent. With state and national economies that struggle to recover, this would dictate that we pull together as a nation and want everyone to succeed.

This requires putting aside our own personal, social, political and religious proclivities, and encouraging diversity of opinions rather than squelching them.

Kurt Kleier

San Francisco

Cal shouldn't lower standards for sports

Marcus Thompson II threw up an air-ball in his recent column on the search for a new Cal basketball coach.

I am a 1974 graduate of Cal and an ardent fan of their athletic teams. I flinched when I read Thompson's comment that Cal should go all-in. How far is all-in? Should Cal compromise its integrity to compete with the shadier practices of some programs? Pay the recruit or maybe just the parent, as was done by a former Cal coach. Play just one year? Thompson: "So be it." That confirms the notion that big-time college athletics are all about exploiting the athlete.

The University of California is first and foremost an institution of higher learning. College athletics are part of the total experience at UC. All-in is not acceptable if it means that coaches can turn their backs on academic commitment. When a coach does that, he really is turning his back on his players for his own selfish success.

Alfred Hernandez

Fremont

U.N. report is clear on climate research

The United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the principal international body for the assessment of climate research, just published its fifth assessment report concluding unequivocally that climate change is real and requires meaningful action -- but the anti-science fringe is now running to the media to spread misinformation and discredit the report.

Lily Leung

Alameda

Ignoring Israel's transgressions

The Obama administration is navigating a foreign policy with a defective moral compass.

The White House and Capitol Hill are making a big fuss over Crimea, jeopardizing world peace by slapping Russia with sanctions.

After all, Crimea's citizens are mostly ethnic Russians and they voted overwhelmingly to secede from the Ukraine and join Russia.

Israel has taken Palestine by force, annexed East Jerusalem and Syria's Golan Heights, continues to confiscate Palestinians' land, and demolish their homes. They build settlements for the exclusive occupancy of Jewish settlers -- Muslims and Christians are prohibited from living in these settlements -- now numbering more than half a million, and not a peep out of Washington, except empty promises by the State Department.

Shouldn't we be slapping Israel with sanctions instead of giving the settlers billions of dollars in economic aid, arming them to the teeth and giving them unconditional political support, thus encouraging their intransigence?

Balsam Nimr

Pacheco