Readers Write (July 1): Labels, achievement gap, Paula Deen, losing trees, cycling

  • Updated: June 30, 2013 - 5:16 PM
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WHERE ARE WE GOING?

Take the ‘Green Line’ and walk to ‘Lake 1’

In case you haven’t seen the billboards, the ”Green Line” is coming. Don’t know what that is? It’s the Central Corridor light-rail line. And now the Hiawatha Line is the “Blue Line” and the Cedar bus rapid transit line is the “Red Line.” Why the change?

Homogenization. It is simpler and clearer for people if things are labeled by color. The same thinking that renamed the Lindbergh and Humphrey Terminals as “Terminal 1” and “Terminal 2.” But in doing so, what is the cost to our collective soul? These words reflect who we are. And now they are gone.

If this is such a good idea, why not do more? Minneapolis could replace neighborhood names like Uptown and Longfellow with a color scheme. We could fight over who gets taupe. We could get rid of Calhoun, Nokomis and Harriet and replace them with “Lake 1,” “Lake 2” and “Lake 3.” We could rename Minnehaha Park the “Park at South End.” All much simpler. But what have we lost if we become as bland as a shopping mall? We need to nurture our collective understanding of who we are. These words are our heritage and should be cherished, not tossed aside.

CAROL BECKER, Minneapolis

PAULA DEEN

Are retailers really seeing the big picture?

This letter is in no way condoning racism. It is meant raise awareness. After reading the Paula Deen story, I can’t help wondering if this means Target and Wal-Mart will also be breaking ties with the record labels and all of the artists they represent that have rap artists who use the forbidden word like it is part of their daily vocabulary and record it and sell it? (“Paula Deen done at Target as the company severs ties,” June 28.)

In the same article, we learn that the Obama administration has suspended trade with Bangladesh because of one greedy businessmen. What happened was tragic, but suspending trade will further push the country into poverty.

I want to believe that in both of these incidents, big companies and big government want to look like they are doing the right thing. Let’s look at the big picture and ask: Are they?

DEAN STRUNC, Crystal

ACHIEVEMENT GAP

Students need to see how lessons apply

Harlan Hansen’s June 26 commentary (“A demonstrated approach to student achievement”) answers the classic question asked by low achievers: “What do I need to learn this stuff for?”

This was a question many of us late bloomers should have had answered in our K-12 schooling. Every year I would see my daughter poring over books and the Internet memorizing seemingly inconsequential facts for upcoming tests.

Perhaps changing the curriculum so that larger periods of time could be spent on application would demonstrate a purpose for learning.

The public school system concentrates too much on theory and not enough on practice. Students need to learn early on how they can incorporate new information into possible careers instead of waiting until later in high school. This would in turn prevent the achievement gap from turning into a wage gap.

SHARON E. CARLSON, Andover

LOSING TREES

It’s sometimes too easy to place the blame

This past week we read that sidewalk repair and the cutting of roots may have contributed to the downing of many of our trees in the recent storm. While it is nice to be able to blame someone or a municipal department when bad things happen, I’m reminded of a storm we experienced at our cabin in Morrison County in the mid-1970s. It had rained hard for several days, then a powerful straight-line wind blew in from across the lake. We watched 43 trees uprooted on our small parcel alone. No one had cut their roots doing sidewalk repairs, but they went down nonetheless.

JOHN MITCHELL, Minneapolis

BICYCLING

Public vehicles could help set good example

The other day I watched as a pedestrian got off the bus and waited for traffic to clear to safely cross Franklin Avenue in Minneapolis. Making the decision to lawfully stop for a pedestrian puts drivers as risk of being harassed or rear-ended. While stopped, I watched as the bus moved along.

On another day I was behind a car that stopped at a Midtown Green­way crossing, not for a pedestrian, but for a cyclist. Wait a minute, isn’t that a stop sign on the Greenway? Isn’t it the cyclist’s responsibility to stop for the car? We definitely need more education and enforcement of current pedestrian crossing laws. Wouldn’t it be great if drivers of public vehicles, such as the bus I observed, would lead by example?

JULIA VANATTA, Minneapolis

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