His struggles can be an inspiration for recruits


Thanks for Chip Scoggins' thoughtful column regarding Gophers football coach Jerry Kill's recent struggles with seizures ("Kill's health scares as U rebuilds linger as tense distractions," Nov. 27). Rather than Kill's health being a deterrent to future recruits, some recruits may see him as an inspiration because of the strength and courage it takes to live with epilepsy. If framed properly, Kill's health could be a proud recruiting mantel for overcoming great odds -- and the incredible hard work and perseverance it takes to do so, whether in daily life or out on the football field. Seems to me that Coach Kill and Gopher football are a match made in heaven.


* * *


New metro project is reason for optimism


As a senior education major at Gustavus Adolphus College, I have spent the past three and a half years experiencing and learning about the economic and racial achievement gap that exists not only in our state, but our entire nation. Yet reading the Minnesota graduation data in "New coalition targets achievement gap in schools" (Nov. 29) was still jarring. The graduation rates for minority and low-income students are a brutal reminder of our schools' inability to reach these students. Thankfully, the Generation Next Partnership provides hope for the students in the Minneapolis-St. Paul school districts who have historically underachieved. Through the collaboration of expert educators, administrators, corporate executives and policymakers, a cohesive initiative to finally eliminate the achievement gap might finally be successful.

High-quality education, in particular early childhood education, is one of the most effective, proven ways to improve an individual's chance for future success in life. Although this partnership has yet to demonstrate its value in our community, I hope for the sake of our students that it succeeds.


• • •

A task force has overwhelmingly recommended the elimination of the standardized math test that all Minnesota students must pass to earn a high school diploma ("State urged to drop graduation exams," Nov. 28). As a Minnesota employer, I routinely interview high school graduates who are unable to work a ruler, convert a fraction to a decimal, write a coherent sentence, or even spell. How much lower can standards go? Is it any wonder that a college degree is required for entry-level jobs that, a generation ago, were filled by high school graduates? Reducing the requirements for a high school diploma may seem like a good deal to those who do not pass the required tests, but in the end, the diploma students receive will mean nothing.


* * *


Richfield, quit picking on neighbors in Edina


I'm sorry our neighbors in Richfield and elsewhere think the people in Edina are heavyhanded in local issues ("Flight paths, it seems, are very personal," Nov. 27). The fact is that Edina residents learned of the new flight paths only from the newspaper, just days before the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) decision. Edina has no representation on the commission and wasn't consulted on the proposed changes. Also, no noise studies were done to show the impact on our community. Yes, lots of us wrote, objected and were vocal at the MAC meeting. I would expect the same reaction from any community in those circumstances, and I hope neighbors wouldn't judge so harshly without knowing all the facts.


• • •

Amid all of the protesting regarding new proposed air-traffic routes, I came up with the most fair and logical solution. Do a study on which metro areas purchase the most airline tickets. It would only be fair for routes to be directed over these areas. Good luck, Edina!


* * *


Bad acts often lead to terrible outcomes


The Star Tribune ran front-page articles this week about Minnesotans breaking the law, but cast them as victims because of the bad things that happened to them ("Teen shooting deaths called 'cold-blooded,'" Nov. 27; "'Damn Crips took my life, too,'" Nov. 29). While we feel sorry for the relatives, let's not forget that these so-called victims were breaking the law and should have been facing prison time. Now, instead, we have fundraisers for them. Contrast this to the law-abiding people killed accidentally or in horrific ways through no fault of their own. Those are the people we should be really feeling sorry for.


* * *


Regardless of politics, leaders serve all of us

I'm not doing very well in my football pool this year. Then I looked at my political picks. I did not vote for President Obama, Sen. Amy Klobuchar or Rep. Keith Ellison.

Our country is in terrible shape and appears to be heading in the wrong direction. All I ask is that our elected lawmakers do the right thing for our country, even if it means going against their party's political beliefs. They were elected to serve our country and need to put aside their personal ambitions to help make America strong and proud.

MIKE MCLEAN, Richfield

* * *


Too much focus on marriage, orchestra


Please, enough is enough! Stop the endless opinions on the Minnesota Orchestra and same-sex marriage. To read the Star Tribune, a person would think these are the only important events in the state and world today. I have always been an avid reader of the editorial page, but get some new material. If you can't find any, make something up, but let the Minnesota Orchestra and same-sex marriage rest in peace.