I wait in vain for someone — politicians, civic and religious leaders, newspaper editors or educators — to point out the role of parents in student achievement ("Absence of achievement," July 18). Citing parental responsibility appears to be the third rail in any discussion about falling test scores or absenteeism.

Although educators have long accepted their role in loco parentis during the school day, they cannot and should not be held responsible for being parents 24/7.

No one can deny that the breakdown of the family in modern society contributes negatively to student achievement. Where is the public outrage, however, that would prompt open, candid discussion —discussion that just might lead to beginning steps toward solutions?

Unfortunately, there is no magic bullet to increase student achievement. (If there were, someone marketing it would surely have become a multimillionaire by now.) But it is certainly past time to recognize that parents must be included in the educational dialogue.

Sandra L. Wighton, Baltimore