Kudos to the Star Tribune for drawing attention to failed online tutoring programs, which are a troubling impediment to academic achievement ("Schooled: Tutors profit as kids fail," June 3). It is clear now that what we need to do is fire these tutoring companies and replace them with companies that require students to turn off their televisions when it's time to study. It would be hard to imagine a better and more cost-effective way to boost academic performance.
RANDY MCGREGOR, Blaine
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When my kids were young and in school, they never had tutors. However, they also didn't have the TV on when doing homework. This looks to me like a parenting problem more than a tutoring problem.
RON OLSON, COON RAPIDS
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It's often said that Minnesota has two seasons: winter and construction. But do we really realize what construction workers are doing for our ease of transportation? Compare, if you will, the ease with which one can now travel across town on Hwy. 62 compared with summers past. And consider that when the Hwy. 169 interchange is finally done in Eden Prairie, traffic will move more smoothly, but also more safely. And it's because construction workers do dangerous work that would be safer if drivers were more aware and not distracted. With the summer travel season upon us, give the road crews a break.
ADAM M. SCHENCK, BLOOMINGTON
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The Star Tribune's article on health insurance discussed families choosing higher deductibles to save on premiums -- sometimes out of necessity, but often as a rational decision ("More Minnesotans driven to choose high-deductible health insurance," June 3). Those who aren't healthy need more coverage, and it's unfortunate when they must forego necessary care or preventative care. A higher premium for low deductibles is certain, but health care needs are uncertain. Each family must decide what program they need to come out best financially.
MICHAEL TILLEMANS, MINNEAPOLIS
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Why does every other article in the Star Tribune tell us how great our state is on health care and how we are leading the country? Since we are second in the nation on high-deductible plans, with scores of older Minnesotans buying them who clearly should not be, surely we are not as great as we think we are. Keep this article at hand when you read the many other stories telling us how great we are and what pillars of the community the CEOs that lead our insurance companies are. It takes little reading between the lines of this excellent article to see that the present system of health care in Minnesota doesn't work. It will either collapse of its own weight or create a two-class society that looks more like our neighbors of the southern hemisphere than the America that the "greatest generation" fought for.
DAVID ROGDE, BLOOMINGTON
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I was a little surprised to read Paul John Scott's commentary characterize the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) as one of the largest lobbyists for the med-tech industry ("The consumer advocate -- med tech not included," June 3). As a former employee of NEMA this is flat out wrong. NEMA is one of the largest and most respected industrial trade associations in the District of Columbia, but only a small number of its members are in the med-tech industry, and the majority of its work is not directly related to med-tech unless you consider electricity a medical device. NEMA's med-tech lobbying efforts are pretty small in comparison to organizations such as AdvaMed, which focus strictly on med-tech. The author must have found some statistics on NEMA's size and made the bad assumption that it was all med-tech-related. Somebody needed to do their homework a little better.
DAVID FRENKEL, EDINA
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Columnist Katherine Kersten provided no evidence to support her claim that allowing gay people to marry would undermine the institution of marriage ("The faulty case for changing marriage laws," June 3). Why would two people contemplating marriage be less inclined to marry if gay marriage were legalized? Why would divorce rates go up if gay marriage were legalized? If the institution of marriage is undermined, it will be because heterosexuals accomplish this on their own, oblivious to anything gay people can or cannot do. The reason for this is simply that the overwhelming majority of people in society are heterosexual. Divorce rates hover around 50 percent for reasons that have nothing whatsoever to do with gay marriage or any absence thereof.
STEVE LEIKIND, ST. PAUL
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I often wonder if Kersten knows any openly gay people. I do, and I can tell you three things about my GLBT friends. First, gay people don't choose to be gay. The vast majority of us, gay or straight, come to realize our orientation as we mature. Although a person can choose how to act on it, the orientation itself is not a choice. Second, gay people are attracted to members of the same sex in the same ways straight people are attracted to members of the opposite sex. This attraction can run the full range of emotions, including the desire to commit to one other person and to build a life as a couple. Finally, gay couples can be just as loving and committed as straight couples. It's impossible for a gay person to form that type of relationship with a member of the opposite sex. Don't believe me? Then you need to get to know the gay men and lesbians in your community. If you don't, you shouldn't judge them or their relationships.
MATT KARL, MINNEAPOLIS