Letters: Lot 354 and American education

Marketplace Staff Jan 19, 2011
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Letters: Lot 354 and American education

Marketplace Staff Jan 19, 2011
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Kai Ryssdal: It’s Wednesday — time to go through the inbox. Last week on the broadcast, Thursday, we devoted almost the entire program to the story of one house — Lot 354: A Tale of America’s Housing Meltdown. Our story hit a bit close to the bone for some.

Lyn Horton of Worthington, Mass., wrote to say that an interest-only loan like the one in the story cost her son his house.

Lyn Horton: That interest-only payment he needed to make every month eventually became a factor in a probable bankruptcy filing and loss of credit, and loss, most of all, of his self-esteem. He quit his real estate job. He lost his house and started from the bottom up without having to file for bankruptcy.

Jason Burke from Oakland, Calif., had a gripe with the story, the bit where a real estate agent said the smartest people on the planet back during the housing boom believed that real estate prices were just never going to fall.

Jason Burke: Sure, real estate agents have made huge commissions by hyping up prices, so for him it was pretty smart. But seriously, the “smartest people on the planet” were not telling us that it was only going to keep going up. Only the deluded, or those with a financial interest in ever rising prices — those paid in commissions on real estate transactions — kept telling us the market would keep going up.

We had Michelle Rhee, the former chancellor of the Washington D.C. public school system, on yesterday. Yes, she’s Asian, she said. No, she’s not one of those “Tiger Mothers” that’ve been in the news the past week or so. But she does think our habit of praising every student as a winner is actually a disservice to them.

Michael Ellery is a high school history teacher from Wauwatosa, Wis.

Michael Ellery: The mere prospect of having an honest conversation about a student’s competitive weakness makes me shudder. I can almost hear the phones ringing with parent complaints and my administrators paging me to have a “conversation” about my attitude.

If you want to talk to us about our attitude or about anything else on the broadcast, comment here or follow us on Facebook and on Twitter. If you’re looking for me, it’s @kairyssdal.

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