Story invaded child’s privacy, tainted preschool’s reputation

My wife Jackie and I were surprised and offended to see that our 5-year-old daughter was the centerpiece of a highly inflammatory article in your paper (“De facto segregation at Capitol Hill preschool,” Hillscape page, May 23).
While I understand that my life as a U.S. senator and candidate for president is open to the public, I would hope that our young children, and the children of other public officials, would be afforded some measure of privacy out of courtesy, not to mention concern for their safety.

Your characterization of the school could not be more wrong. Grace goes to the public school in our neighborhood — a school with extraordinarily dedicated teachers and a student body that reflects the diversity of our community. To suggest otherwise is offensive and demeaning to the public school teachers and administrators who have made my daughter’s time at her school so rewarding and fulfilling.

Your article also fails to fully describe the enrollment process at her school — the “School-Within-School” at Peabody — and the Peabody Elementary School, which shares a common building and district boundaries. Both have enrolment programs that allow parents who reside within the boundary to choose, on a first-come, first-serve basis, which school they would like to enroll their child in. Some choose the Reggio Emilia curriculum offered at the “School-Within-School”; others choose the more traditional curriculum offered at Peabody. A lottery is held for those children who reside outside the schools’ boundaries to fill any remaining spots that are left, and to develop a waiting list for spots that may open. To imply, as your article clearly does, that there is anything improper with the schools’ enrolment program is wrong and offensive.
I would hope that in the future your publication would be more considerate and careful in your reporting. To do otherwise not only gives readers the wrong impression about my family — more importantly, they impugn the reputations of hardworking school officials who care for our children everyday.

~From Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), Washington

I had insisted on a withdrawal timeline

An article that appeared in this newspaper last week mischaracterized my view on the Iraq supplemental and also included an inaccurate quote that was attributed to me (“Defections now likely on Iraq bill,” May 23). As one of the first and most outspoken critics of the invasion and subsequent disastrous occupation of Iraq, I want to set the record straight.

Congress has an obligation to our servicemen and women and the American people as a whole to use the power of the purse to end the illegal occupation of Iraq and bring our troops home.

I fully recognize the tough position the House leadership faced in trying to put together a bill that would pass and ensure our troops in Iraq have the resources they need to stay safe. However, I personally could not support a measure that does not come close to adequately holding President Bush accountable and does not put this country on a timeline for getting out of Iraq.

I refuse to buy into this false argument that the only way to support the troops in Iraq is to fund their operations there. The real way to support our troops is to fully fund their withdrawal from Iraq. It is well past the time that our troops begin to redeploy home and to other parts of the world where they are truly needed, such as Afghanistan, where the Taliban is regaining strength and al Qaeda continues to operate.

Like everyone else in Congress, I hope that the situation in Iraq gets better fast. Sadly, I do not think that will be the case. Support for a fully-funded withdrawal from Iraq may not have been sufficient this time, but I suspect that when Congress returns from the August recess that there will be enough support for the next funding bill. I wish we could have set a timeline now for our troops to come home, but sadly our troops will have to wait longer.

~From Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.), Washington