Hilliard City Schools Superintendent John Marschhausen has done a pretty good job and the recent state report card shows that things could be worse.

His commitment to the education of his charges is evident. But the superintendent's recent column ("Hilliard Schools Connection: Success in education remains difficult to measure," published Sept. 20) shows that he is sympathetic to the activists who would turn our schools into a home away from home for wayward kids. The public's job is to expose children to learning opportunities and hope for the best. There will always be certain students who do not thrive in an academic environment.

The reasons for this include lack of interest, inferior understanding or mental capacity, lack of motivation brought on by chaotic home life and physical and psychological illnesses. The reasons do not include poverty, as the superintendent suggests. If it is true that there is a correlation between poverty and poor academic performance, it is because there is a negative correlation between income and home preparation for academic performance.

In neither case is it the business of the schools to become part of that dynamic. If there is improvement to be had, it must come from within the family. The schools have done their legal and constitutional duty when they have provided the books and classroom instruction to the children.

Reading the superintendent's laundry list of socioeconomic strategies being employed by our schools answers the question: Why has our budget for education expanded beyond reasonable bounds?

Thomas Dugan