It's time we stop blaming only teachers and schools when pupils are not doing well ["Expert help for at-risk schools," News, July 27]. We must start looking at parents and homes.

My daughter taught first grade for several years in a city school. She had children whose parents didn't get them to school until 10 or 10:30 each morning, even though school started at 8:15. Just think about how much instruction they missed.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Other children were routinely absent for one or two days a week. Another little boy cried because his stomach hurt from hunger. This is in spite of the fact that free breakfast was available, if only the parents would get him there in the morning! My daughter spent her own money to keep food and drinks in her classroom for these kids.

She also got a glimpse of the type of home life these children had when she heard the absolutely filthy language that came out of the mouths of these 6-year-olds. Most of the time, homework was ignored.

Laurel Libby, Sound Beach