What would you say are the current priorities in U.S. schools? I think, if asked, most teachers in schools would give an answer consistent with the idea of "excellence in instruction." Whether they act on that priority is another question. It may be that there is a gap between what the percieved and actual priorities are. -S.H.

Collin Responds:
If I am pressed on current priorities in U.S. schooling, my immediate answer would be academic excellence. However, I don't think even this is being achieved. If it were, public confidence in schooling would be greater than it is. Colin Powell's recent forum to reach all of America's children has as its major focus that every child should be in regular contact with a caring adult. If school is an institution regularly visited by children, is this not the point at which this caring should be enacted? Should this not be the priority of schooling? If the current priorities are not meeting their desired goal, let's have the courage to strive for excellence more broadly conceived.