Concern about the lack of values education in the schools is misdirected, at least in the case of the D.C. public schools. I have been struck during the 11 years my children have attended these schools with how often values enter the curriculum and how thoroughly they are discussed.

Recently, pre-kindergarteners at the Key Elementary School celebrated Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday. Sharon Scholem, their teacher, reported that the children came up with their own dreams to share:

I want everybody to be nice. I want everybody to share their toys. (Brian)

I want everybody to join hands together. (Josh)

I want everybody to have freedom. (Katy)

I want everybody to share the water fountain. (Leah)

Among the songs they learned was "I Live in the City":

I live in the city, yes I do.

Made by human hands.

White hands, black hands, yel-

low hands, brown.

All together they built this

town.

White hands, black hands, yel-

low hands, brown.

All together make the world go

round.

For the winter holiday program, these children sang "It's a Small World After All" -- in four different languages. Both songs reflect the diversity of their classmates and teach them to value each other and all peoples everywhere.

Values education is not missing from the classroom. Concern about our values or lack thereof might be better directed at the larger society, where greed, callousness and injustice are all more likely to be found than in our schools.

HEIDI HARTMANN

Washington