Mailbag

UPDATED 11/22/2004 at 01:00 AM EST Originally published 11/22/2004 at 01:00 AM EST

My prayers and thoughts go out to Melissa Etheridge, her wife, Tammy, and their family. Melissa's breast cancer awareness may be her key to survival. Let us women unite and fight this thing! Jennifer Cordero
Pasadena, Calif.

ON THE STRENGTH OF MELISSA
What a great photo! What a relief to see Melissa Etheridge's beautiful, smiling face. She's hugely beloved by her fans, and it was comforting to see that twinkle in her eyes. Be strong, Melissa.
Margaret A. Hart
Newark, Del.

Melissa speaks the truth and her music tells no lies. Her latest challenge is a transition to another level of self-discovery. And with the strength and power of love she'll draw from family and friends, she will persevere.
Linda H. Mueller
San Antonio, Texas

Thanks for "Stories of Hope" for breast cancer patients and for those of us who are children of the victims of this wicked disease. Your magazine always offers so many hopeful stories for patients and for people like me who live in fear that we may one day be a victim. I'm all for mammograms and encourage all women not to be afraid of them. Remember, with early detection you may just save your life.
Chizo P. Ofodu
Livermore, Calif.

While I appreciate Etheridge's music, seeing her on your cover as the poster child for breast cancer was especially annoying. She has millions of dollars for the best physicians, and an entire world of celebrities to help bring attention to her plight. Meanwhile, millions of women sit in silence and loneliness. Give them a voice, please.
Michelene Briggs
Rogersville, Tenn.

MAKING THE GRADE
Thanks for the story "Stressed by the Tests." It's good to know that my family isn't alone in the struggle for our children's academic success. My husband and I strive to help our fifth grader keep up with her schoolwork: homework every night, tests to study for over the weekends. We hired a high school student to help her study, and we're looking to hire another tutor. Who knows what extra help she'll need in middle and high school? I hope our finances can afford it.
Kellie Johnson
Midlothian, Va.

As a teacher, I was first interested and then frustrated by your one-sided article. You should have interviewed a few educators to bring forward the other side many readers may not be aware of. Many don't realize schools and educators are just as stressed as the parents, if not more so. We struggle to keep careers that are threatened because our students are failing these tests. Teachers can only do so much with the time and students they're given.
Kristin Jones
Jacksonville, Ark.

Your story did a good job illuminating the steps parents take to ensure their children receive the extra support they need. Yet some readers may be confused by the statement made by one prospective Huntington Learning Center client who quoted a tutoring cost of $90 per hour. The actual cost quoted was $45 per hour for a single child. But in this case, the client had two children. I'd also like to note that this cost could include diagnostic testing to pinpoint specific learning issues.
Dr. Raymond J. Huntington
Huntington Learning Center, Oradell, N.J.

POUNDING MARY-KATE
After reading your update on Mary-Kate Olsen, I just can't understand how she can be considered healthy when she weighs about 90 lbs. Since when did that become healthy? I don't think her nutritionists are working hard enough for their money.
Amanda Baatz
Council Bluffs, Iowa

FRATERNAL ORDER
I will never understand the purpose of alcohol-related hazing events. Isn't the purpose of brotherhood to build up the ranks of the fraternity? Establish long-term friendships? How does funneling pledges with liquor indicate potential social and academic contributions? My heart goes out to the family of Lynn "Gordie" Bailey Jr., the University of Colorado student featured in "Dying to Fit In." What a beautiful smile he had. Many thanks to them for sharing his story.
Harper Wood
Equality, Ala.

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