Laws already subject to careful review
The March 9 editorial (“State needs better cost controls for special ed”) rightly called on the federal government to fund its share of special education costs and on legislators to approve Gov. Mark Dayton’s proposal for additional funding. The call to review Minnesota’s laws was perplexing, however.
Minnesota has recognized the need to review state special education laws and rules periodically. In 2007-09, a legislative task force did an extensive review that exceeded the federal government’s. As a result, some laws were eliminated.
Since then, bills have been introduced or proposed to eliminate as many as 53 sections of special education law and 28 sections of special education rules. Fortunately, parents and disability advocates made legislators aware that the rules and statutory language targeted for elimination did, in fact, provide much-needed protection.
Given that Minnesota has already covered this territory, any new attempts should be careful to propose only changes that will enhance the education of children with disabilities, not reduce their rights.
Steve Larson, St. Paul
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Lost in the conversation are the professionals who dedicate their careers to this field. Special ed teachers face significant challenges every day: Each of their students needs a custom approach; the public often brings negativity to the arena, given concerns over costs; the government demands a significant amount of regulatory paperwork, and administrators often have special ed at the bottom of school district priorities.
With everyone seemingly against them, I want to stand up and salute special ed teachers across the state for their dedication and caring. I can tell you that my son received the attention, hands-on training and the skill-building he needed to become more communicative and more independent. The growth he achieved was well worth the expense.
Steve Hayes, Plymouth
Piracy battle distracts from the real issue
The legal issues surrounding Internet piracy are minuscule compared with the pandemic of Internet pornography (“Porn piracy or shakedown?” March 11). How can we fight a societal evil if we no longer recognize the foe? Are we more concerned with money than morality?
Suppose a band of pirates had attacked a ship carrying a cargo of human slaves, but had stolen only a paltry amount of silver. Consider the absurdity if abolitionist champions such as William Wilberforce, Frederick Douglass or Abraham Lincoln had then shifted their focus to the prevention of international piracy.
One might say the comparison is misguided. Not so if one considers that the addicts of pornography are enslaved by destructive behavior likened to cocaine or heroin usage, that intense pornographic viewing produces progressive desires that are especially harmful to young children and women, and that gross revenues reach into the tens of billions.
Keep the right focus. Identify the real enemy. End the slavery.
The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.