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'Readiness' not required

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Letter to the Editor
Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013, 8:55 p.m.

In his letter “Early learning pays” (Sept. 13 and, retired Army Lt. Gen. Dennis L. Benchoff ends his argument for increased government funding of early education by stating it would “better ensure that our next generation is citizen-ready.”

I'm guessing at what he meant by “citizen-ready,” but please remember: Anyone born in this country comes into the world already a citizen of the United States of America.

Every “child of immigrants” should be offended at the suggestion that anyone (regardless of age) born in the United States needs to meet “readiness” requirements to be recognized as a citizen. My grandparents met such requirements to become naturalized citizens.

I was born in a naval hospital to a first-generation American citizen, a Marine during World War II. My fraternal grandfather, a naturalized citizen, buried his fallen soldier son at Arlington National Cemetery shortly after D-Day.

My grandparents' heroic sacrifices made it possible for descendants to be recognized upon birth as citizens. My family realizes and appreciates this privilege.

We also realize our responsibility to defend this privilege from individuals who suggest we need to meet “readiness” requirements — educational, ethical or physical — to be called a “citizen” of the United States of America.

Suzanne E. Miller


The writer is professor emeritus in Point Park University's Education Department.

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