Even in digital age, students need old skills

After watching a news report concerning the discontinuance of cursive writing instruction, I’m concerned. Apparently this approach has been in place to some degree across the nation, with Minnesota not requiring instruction and allowing individual districts to opt out. The thought is that students only use keyboards to create text in printed format, so why waste time learning cursive? In my opinion this is wrongheaded. It would seem that society would benefit greatly by requiring both cursive and keyboard instruction. Why choose just one method?


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Student commentaries did their school proud

If the three commentaries by students at Benilde-St. Margaret’s School represent the quality of that school’s education, I can only hope that my granddaughter would attend (Opinion Exchange, Feb. 20). A big “well done” to Jackie Lawyer, Leni Merriam and Xandi Swedberg.

LLOYD STUVE, Savage, Minn.

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May I suggest you give that student Jackie Lawyer her own weekly column (“Mend your speech, lest it mar your fortunes”). It would, by far, contain the most delightful reading your newspaper has had for a long time.

Ron Schumeister, Edina

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A long, long time ago I read James Lileks’ first column in the Minnesota Daily. I can’t recall what he wrote about that day, but I do remember instantly recognizing that he was a talented writer and humorist. I experienced the same recognition while reading the pieces by the trio of Benilde-St. Margaret’s students. I applaud them and look forward to seeing more of their writing. I also applaud the teacher or teachers who helped promote and encourage their creativity.

LEE PEDERSON, New Richmond, Wis.

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Peanut-related deaths show regulation’s value

Thanks for the detailed report on the alleged criminal negligence involving salmonella-tainted peanut butter (“4 indicted in fatal peanut outbreak,” Feb. 22). I hope readers remember this story the next time they hear somebody talk about “unnecessary” government regulation.

Steven Schild, Winona, Minn.

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All students involved deserve punishment

The actions of the brawling students at Minneapolis South High School were irresponsible and immature (“Food fight erupts into melee at South H.S.,” Feb. 15). These students showed a complete lack of respect for rules and socially accepted behavior. All students involved should be held responsible and suspended or expelled for the remainder of the school year. It seems those in the Somali community are quick to point fingers at everybody but themselves. I’m sure the tension leading up to the event was caused by all involved. They should all be punished equally.

KEITH CONVERSE, Loretto, Minn.

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It’s critical as teens search for identities

Joanna Weiss suggests that Facebook is a pointless waste of the public’s time (“The trouble with Facebook is the people,” Feb. 11). She states that “61 percent of Facebook users have taken a Facebook vacation” at some point. I’m pretty sure a large portion of the other 39 percent is made up of teens who do not consider Facebook pointless but an integral part of life. At this stage in our lives, our main goal is establishing ourselves in the social network and finding our place in this world. We use Facebook as a tool in this critical period.

ALEXA AKRE, Falcon Heights

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No, a woman’s place should not be limited

The writer who said that changing the bylaws at University of St. Thomas to allow a noncleric to be president is a slap in the face to the nation’s Catholic priests reflected an old, anti-woman mind-set (Readers Write, Feb. 20). How just is it to imply that the job should not go to a woman as long as there is any qualified man available, or that this woman would not care for the students’ spiritual well-being as well as the university’s performance?

DAVID MILLER, Mendota Heights

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Several years ago, a priest I know stated that the reasons we would not see female priests in our lifetime: 1) Because Pope John Paul had closed the door on the topic, and 2) because many Catholic men would have difficulty following a woman.

Even decades removed from the Catholic Church, my soul still revolts at the male chauvinism that mires it.

Cory Gunderson, Lakeville

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His views are at odds with many Hispanics

Many Republicans believe that Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a Cuban American, will strengthen their political brand (“Rubio set to present the GOP’s reaction,” Feb. 10). Indeed, he’s the ideal marketing package for Tea Party positions that lie outside majority opinion.

But his words and actions seem at odds. When he’s not talking about his mom, he’s voting against the Violence Against Women Act. He equates scientific research on the age of the Earth with faith-based declarations, as if beliefs don’t determine actions in education, climate change and other critical areas.

He labels any attempt at gun control as “undermining the Second Amendment.” He’s tough on border security to keep out Mexicans, Hondurans, Nicaraguans, Guatemalans and others who aren’t Cuban. This leaves his toughness on immigration inconsistent, self-serving and offensive to many immigrants.

BILL MEASE, Minneapolis