Money and SAT Scores

I think your article on Prince George's school spending [Prince George's Extra, Jan. 5] missed the point. If you look at school spending vs. average SAT scores in our region, you will see that the counties that spend more than Prince George's have higher SAT scores, and counties that spend less than Prince George's also have higher SAT scores. Spending does strongly correlate with SAT scores for the other counties, but it does not correlate for Prince George's.

One must distinguish between correlation and causation. Spending and SAT scores generally increase together, but this does not imply causation.

When spending goes up, it usually indicates that county residents are making more money, but making more money normally comes from having a more highly educated adult population. The children of adults with college and advanced degrees perform better in school, on the average. This explains the discrepancy far better than school spending levels.

So what's my point? Throwing money at the Prince George's school system and expecting improvement is crazy. Higher salaries do raise teacher morale, but nicer buildings don't take the SAT for kids. The article stated that the vision for the school system was about "equity." Well, the schools will all be equally bad at this rate. Some white parents may have left the county because they didn't want their kids in class with black children, but I suspect many more have left because the county cares more about "equity" than quality.

Joseph Lucas

Oxon Hill High School '96

Harvard College, Class of '00

Residency Issue

I want to thank you for the wonderful job done on the Prince George's Extra in the paper's Jan. 5 issue.

However, as a resident of Prince George's County, I was discouraged to see that the future president of the Prince George's County Chamber of Commerce, lawyer Richard K. Reed, resides in Montgomery County. What assurances do the residents of my county have that Mr. Reed's actions will be in the best interest of our county residents and businesses if he is not interested in living here? I do not know the procedure for this appointment, but would it not be more appropriate that the president of the county's Chamber of Commerce be a resident of Prince George's County?

I hope that many others in this county question this appointment. Perhaps Mr. Reed will consider moving back to his native county.

Norma Laughrige

Bowie

Eagles' Homes

Our own American bald eagles after years of trying to repopulate and become our national bird again have lost one of their homes to big development. So far in their lives, they have been poisoned, shot at and now have their homes destroyed by big money and development. Is nothing sacred and is this what the new millennium will be like? How hungry for money are our politicians that they will allow things like this to happen? It takes years for an eagle to build a nest, and their nests are not normal size; they can weigh up to 3,000 pounds. How is it possible to cut a tree down without noticing a 2,000- to 3,000-pound nest in the top?

Living on the property line of this development [proposed National Harbor development near Oxon Hill], I know that the trees have been marked with different color markers so the workers know which trees stay and which are to be removed. What an environmentally conscious company Peterson Development is. This is just one less thing he has to deal with. First, they remove interference from the National Capital Planning Commission and now (accidentally) they remove another obstacle, the American bald eagle.

Tonya Pometto

Oxon Hill

The Prince George's Extra welcomes Letters to the Editor. E-mail to pgextra@washpost.com; fax to 301-952-1397; write to Letters to the Editor, Prince George's Extra, The Washington Post, 14402 Old Mill Rd., Suite 201, Upper Marlboro, Md. 20772. Please include your place of residence and a daytime phone number. Letters may be edited.