My beloved school has failed to make Average Yearly Progress under No Child Left Behind for a second straight year. It was just a few years ago that my school and district were considered to be one of the top places to teach in our state.
NCLB is not about finding ways for our children to succeed, but about "pointing fingers." I'm a dedicated educator; last year, I felt embarrassed, this year, I am angry. This program is not helping create better schools, it is hurting the quality of education that our students are getting. More and more time is going to preparing for testing. The creative spirit has been diminished. Programs have been cut.
The pride that we felt as a school community has been shredded. Today, my parents, who were once so proud to have their children go to our school, are waking up and wondering if they should transfer.
LAWRENCE WADE, MINNETONKA
After reading about how nearly half of Minnesota's schools do not meet federal NCLB's guidelines, I wondered how our governor would get this info while traveling around the United States, campaigning for a presidential race three years away. Maybe someone could drop him a note and mention how his cuts are affecting the school districts. Perhaps the Star Tribune could send him a copy of the article, just to make sure he reads it in whatever state besides Minnesota he happens to be in.
ROBYN KIM, BURNSVILLE
After reading the Aug. 8 letter from Rep. Tim Mahoney, DFL-Minneapolis, bemoaning the terrible standard of living in Minnesota and placing the blame squarely at the feet of Gov. Tim Pawlenty, I feel compelled to respond to a couple of his assertions.
Might Minnesota's corporate income tax rate being the third highest in the country (9.9 percent, 3.4 percent higher than any other state he mentions) be a factor in unemployment or economic growth? Why are companies moving out of Minnesota? Does he think the governor is out to raise taxes and drive more business and jobs away? I don't, but I do think he and his DFL cohorts certainly think higher tax rates on any corporations or earners would have a positive impact on the woes you cite.
And I think it is important to note that Minnesota's unemployment rate is considerably lower than the national average.
MARK WOTHE, ST. LOUIS PARK
Health insurance is socialist. Get over it.
In addition to Medicare and Veterans Affairs being "socialist" systems, the whole concept of insurance itself is socialist: The more fortunate subsidize the less fortunate in a collective effort to maximize the well-being (health and wealth) of the group. The aim of any individual may be self-protection, but the only effective and just means to achieve this goal is to maximize the well-being of the whole. The cost of any individual's misfortune is shared by the entire group; that's what insurance is. Once we can swallow the fact that we are all in this particular boat together, perhaps we can agree that it would be nice for us to have a say in how the system is run and where our money goes.
The current private system can't even accurately be called insurance: It's not insurance when companies routinely deny coverage on technicalities and even pay teams of people to find reasons to deny claims; it's not insurance if the administrators work as hard as they can to make sure only the healthy are covered. (Ultimately that just means the taxpayer ends up paying for some of the worst cases anyway.)
The current private system is really just an expensive lottery with bad odds. A public system would help us more efficiently achieve the goal of the healthy subsidizing the sick as opposed to the whole group subsidizing corporate executives and shareholders.
BEN SEYMOUR, MINNEAPOLIS
I do not believe the proposed health care policy will be beneficial to our country. If it requires everyone to purchase health insurance, it will only be a hidden tax on the middle class. The poor will be subsidized, and the rich don't need it. The middle class predominantly receives health insurance through employers. If the plan taxes health benefits, it will nullify that benefit status.
Minnesota started requiring individuals to have auto insurance. Two years after that law passed, our auto insurance rates skyrocketed.
People in the medical field supporting this proposed health care plan only do so because they will benefit. They would not support this plan otherwise.
The only way we will ever have the ability to control medical costs is to nationalize the medical field. Anything less is unfeasible so if our leaders are not prepared to do that, they should stop wasting our nation's time and not put additional burden on our middle class.
JAMES A. BOURASSA, COON RAPIDS
I woke up Friday morning, picked up the Star Tribune, opened it to the Business section and got the best news of the year: Bill Pohlad, Minneapolis film producer, is launching an independent movie studio, named "Apparition."
My husband and I see almost everything that the Landmark independent theater group -- the Edina, Lagoon and Uptown theaters -- puts on the screen. The independent films always tell a story, as opposed to commercial films. When we go to a mainstream movie, we are overwhelmed at the violence and scenes of destruction and absence of much of a story line. Our whole family realizes the quality of independent films. You can even take your grandkids!
With Pohlad's venture including actors like Sean Penn and Brad Pitt and director Terrence Malick, the talent is immense. We can't wait!
NANCY BURBIDGE, EDINA
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.