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Letters: Philanthropy in education, Americans and the inequality

Going over listeners' responses to past broadcasts.

Kai Ryssdal: We start our letters segment today with my conversation yesterday with philanthropist Eli Broad, and his idea that lessons from the world of business can help improve education in this country.

Sharon Phillips of Lake in the Hills, Ill., says she's tired of people who aren't teachers judging those who are.

Sharon Phillips: These business people look very ignorant when they go comparing the U.S. to other countries, and even to itself, 20 to 30 years ago based on average test scores alone. Wake up! Things have changed.

John Eck teaches criminal justice at the University of Cincinnati. He says private funding to reform public enterprise can work.

John Eck: In the 1970s, the Ford Foundation invested in police reform through its creation of the Police Foundation. Today, policing is far more effective and a great deal more fair because the Police Foundation broke through the entrenched interests that stifled police innovation.

We started a new partnership with Gallup this week, a series we're calling Attitude Check. Frank Newport's the editor-in-chief over there, and he told me there's no greater interest in narrowing the gap between the rich and poor now than there was 20 years ago.

Kim Bruno of Washington, D.C., grants that Americans probably don't begrudge the rich -- if they got that way on the up and up.

Kim Bruno: But if the individual or organization achieves their economic gains through fraud or unfairness, you will hear howls of anger, particularly when the new -- or old -- rich use the law to protect the dubious gains. Americans want a fair shake.

A correction now from our story about ratings agencies earlier this week. S&P, Moody's and Fitch are the biggies. They're private companies -- not started by the government.

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About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.

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