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Continued: Readers Write (March 13): Marriage, early ed, bus Wi-Fi, railroads

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  • Last update: March 12, 2013 - 8:31 PM

EARLY EDUCATION

OK — so it’s not magic, but what is?

A March 10 headline read “Early childhood education promising, but no vaccine for disadvantaged youth,” meaning that it doesn’t guarantee success later in school and life.

While I don’t dispute the assertion, I’m left asking: So what? Do we stop investing in kindergarten because some kids are unsuccessful later in life? Elementary school? Middle school? High school? Higher education? Vocational training? Apprenticeships? On-the-job-training?

Education at any level can never be a fail-safe “vaccine” against failure. But research shows that it greatly increases the likelihood of success, making it a great investment. With up to 90 percent of brain development happening before age 5, we especially need Minnesota kids to have the benefit of great learning environments as early as possible.

Fred Senn, Edina

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BUS WI-FI

Driven to distraction, students won’t socialize

A March 11 article (“School bus Wi-Fi connects kids, classes”) clearly described the purported and observed benefits of providing school-age children with wireless Internet access on the ride to and from school, but it stopped short of describing any potential negative impacts of providing kids with access to constant electronic stimulation.

I’m a college student who rode the bus in high school when it was too snowy or icy to bike, and I made many meaningful friends on my rides. If I had ridden a bus equipped with Wi-Fi, who knows if I would’ve struck up as many casual conversations, if others were too busy checking e-mail or doing homework to pay attention to the physical world?

Districts focusing on establishing Wi-Fi need to realize that students can’t be expected to devote all of their time to completing class work. Students receive a social education on bus rides, and eliminating a potential source of worthwhile social development in order to facilitate work time will not serve them well in the long run.

Aly Young, Northfield, Minn.

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RAILROADS

With higher traffic comes disruption

I read the March 10 letter about transporting Canadian oil by train with great interest. I have lived beside a rail line for more than 60 years. When we built our house, the railroad was owned by the Soo Line, and there were about 12 trains a day. No big deal.

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