Trump, keep Pa. streams clean

I am concerned about Donald Trump's stated intent to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency and the impact on the health of our streams and drinking-water sources ("Waiting for Trump era," Dec. 26). At the same time, there may be some hope that his administration will invest in clean-water infrastructure and work to protect public lands.

Trump would be well served to listen to the voices of millions of Americans who, like me in Southeastern Pennsylvania, enjoy the benefits of clean drinking water and excellent fishing opportunities. I am a member of the Pennsylvania Council of Trout Unlimited, and we depend on the Clean Water Act to help our community protect the state's prime streams. After all of our work to restore the region's streams, we do not want poorly conceived federal policies to take us backward.

I also urge our representatives in Congress, especially Sens. Bob Casey and Pat Toomey and Philadelphia-area Reps. Ryan Costello and Pat Meehan, to work with the new administration to make sure that our drinking-water supplies, streams, and rivers are conserved.

|Chris Burns, Oxford

Deportations would be a lose-lose

I'm concerned about the impact of ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which was part of President-elect Donald Trump's immigration plan during his campaign. We can and must get tough on border security, but deporting hundreds of thousands of "dreamers" living in the United States isn't tough - it's economically unwise and targets the innocent.

Young people who were brought here illegally as children are subject to strict residency requirements and must have passed comprehensive background checks to ensure they are not criminals or represent a potential threat. They grew up here, have jobs here, and feel a deep attachment to this country. America offered them a chance at a better life. That fact is not lost on immigrants of all generations.

Ending legal status and deporting hundreds of thousands of people will create chaos in our economy, as thousands of businesses lose employees and customers. It could be the trigger for the next economic recession in this country. It is not a practical solution.

|Richard C. Aigeldinger, Collegeville

How much care for Abu-Jamal?

Convicted police killer Mumia Abu-Jamal has hepatitis C, requiring treatment with a new medicine costing $84,000 to $90,000 ("Judge: Abu-Jamal must get meds," Wednesday). He also has diabetes.

Abu-Jamal has been sentenced to life in prison, meaning to die while in jail. If he gets the treatment to prolong his life, what happens with a myriad of related diseases? Does he get dialysis or a kidney transplant if his kidneys fail due to diabetes? Does he get a heart transplant due to cardiac damage from other diseases? What is the limit of intervention to which he is entitled?

When is he allowed to die in jail from natural causes?

|Bernard S. Sobel, D.O., Berwyn

Start teaching children early

In the 1970s, psychologists discouraged parents from formally teaching their very young children. Researchers believed that until age 5 or 6, most children did not form neural connections that allowed them to decode printed letters and mentally combine them to make words.

Researchers now believe that a child's brain is 90 percent developed by age 5. Teaching children at a very early age is imperative to compete with the new technology and world around us ("To sum up: Start teaching math skills at home," Monday).

As a retired Philadelphia schoolteacher and from teaching my children, I understand that parents are the best teachers. But they need guidance. Libraries and preschools should offer monthly classes, teaching games and activities they could use with their children at home.

I favor the Socratic method, asking questions to stimulate critical thinking. Children don't want to be told the answer; they love to discover it for themselves and then teach it to someone else.

By the time these children start preschool, they will have a significant amount of concepts and a great advantage and confidence on their way to becoming productive members of society.

|Gloria Sherman, Warminster, gloriasherman2@aol.com

Teens need to work on math

American 15-year-olds ranked 31st in math in the Programme for International Students Assessment of 35 countries released last month. It reflected a significant decline from the 2012 assessment.

Studies have shown that young Americans rank themselves as proficient in math skills, yet they trailed teens in Finland, South Korea, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, and Germany in the assessment.

Try asking a typical teenager to calculate the tip after dinner in a restaurant, or to solve a simple math problem: A cup of coffee and a doughnut cost $1.10 and the coffee costs a dollar more than the doughnut. How much does the doughnut cost?

Do the math.

|Roger J. Brown, East Fallowfield, rbrown36@aol.com