Readers Write (April 30): Government, childcare unions, Hopkins protest

  • Updated: April 29, 2013 - 8:49 PM
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RUNNING GOVERNMENT

Just how much is it like an investment?

It is interesting that Scott Honour believes that being a venture capitalist is somehow comparable to running a state government (“Republican Honour enters governor’s race,” April 25). I have been handed a substantial check by a venture-capitalist group and never got the impression that these were people I wanted running anything.

Venture capitalists tend to be some very wealthy people looking for easy profits by buying into companies they believe will succeed. They’re looking to grab a share of the profits by doing nothing but being rich. This seems quite close to Mitt Romney’s philosophy, and I thought the nation pretty soundly rejected that. I just do not believe that venture capitalism is something that I want the government practicing.

Wayne Sather, Eagan

• • •

It amazes me, given the expanding size of the public sector, that we have never had a system to evaluate the effectiveness of government performance that is meaningful and understandable to the taxpayer. This reminds me of the CEO who once said half of his advertising was wasted but did not know which half.

Since then, better measurements for testing advertising effectiveness have been developed. We can develop a system of evaluating government performance. Though the federal government and many states and localities mandate performance evaluation, few if any of these assessments are meaningful or very good.

The reason is that most performance management is measured by the agencies themselves and has much political and bureaucratic interference. The best evaluation systems have reliable and valid measurements; operate in a nonpartisan, fair and objective manner, and report the results in a format that is easy to understand.

Even agencies that have much independence and do a good job of monitoring government performance such as the U.S. Government Accountability Office and Minnesota Legislative Auditor’s Office have limitations.

There are three players who don’t want an independent, meaningful and reliable system of government performance evaluation. Politicians and bureaucrats worry about job security. Special interests want to receive more than they give.

Lynn Bracegirdle, Eagan

* * *

CHILD-CARE UNIONS

Workers mobilize because it helps

If licensed day-care providers don’t organize, they will continue in the rut they are in — not having an effective advocate (“A wrongheaded push to unionize day care,” editorial, April 28).

There is a reason why registered nurses, building trades craftsmen, teachers and others, including some employees of the Star Tribune, make more than double a licensed day-care provider with human life responsibilities no greater. They are organized. They have representation.

If there is some other way for them to create an effective democratic collective voice, I’m all ears.

Bruce Danielson, Richfield

* * *

STUDENT PROTEST

At Hopkins, the start of a conversation

As a student of color at Hopkins High Schools, I agree with student protesters’ grievances (“Hopkins High pupils walk out,” April 27). Although many white students don’t feel that racial inequality is prevalent, it’s obvious that students of color feel differently.

Racism at Hopkins usually manifests itself indirectly in interactions between students of color and white students or staff members.

For example, many white students comment on how a certain class they’re taking is “ghetto,” a racially charged word usually implying a high number of black students in a class. Another example of racism is when teachers mistake one student for another.

Often I am mistaken for another Asian student who is also a senior even though we don’t look alike. We usually joke about it, yet both of these examples of racism demonstrate that other students and staff sometimes don’t view students of color as individuals, but rather part of a racial group.

For all students to feel equally treated, the topic of race must be openly discussed by students and staff alike. The administration has a significant responsibility in this goal, including adding curriculum that is more culturally diverse and equity training for staff, and promoting conversation about awareness and tolerance.

Students also have a responsibility to accept the challenges and possible discomforts of a race conversation, since we all will grow up in an increasingly diverse country.

Emma Charlesworth-Seiler, Golden Valley

• • •

My two kids have been in Hopkins schools for a combined 26 child years. Friday’s walkout is why I believe in District 270 like I do. It is simply one of the best at turning out well-rounded students ready to face the unbelievable messiness of everyday life.

The district educates kids not to accept things that are unacceptable. Notice the photo that ran with the Star Tribune’s story about the walkout: There are kids of different ethnicities in that photo asking for change. I am so proud! This is what my uncle fought so hard to protect on crappy little islands in the South Pacific during World War II.

However, I do expect District 270 kids to consider all aspects of this issue of equality. For example, review the content of some of the most-downloaded songs on iTunes. Are you supporting artists who preach equality to women, gays and children?

Keep asking the hard questions, kids. But do as you have been taught and ask all of the questions. Especially the most difficult ones. You give me a lot of hope for my future. Go for it!

Paul Pasko, Minnetonka

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