We lost a leader who truly cared for the people he served. All of us. No, he was not an orator. His well-intended deeds spoke louder than his words. Like each of us, he made mistakes. He made no mistakes in his wanting a better world and a better country. Doing can be vexing, of course. But, President George H.W. Bush was a doer who learned from his doing, successes and mistakes.

An example of that focus on presidential betterment was reported in the Star Tribune in May 1991. On the front page was a photograph of Bush, sitting alongside a St. Paul school student who was clearly in deep thought.

The president had just asked the student what he liked about his new school. Bush was visiting to recognize the new school for its unique and promising approach to better learning and teaching. In front of them sat an array of Lego blocks, gears and motors, controlled by a computer program the student had devised. Well-schooled in his “thinking before doing,” the student told the president that he was working hard, using the school’s new tech tools and learning basic skills. He then added, “I like learning with my hands, and computers let me work with my hands.” That insight taught the president that there’s more than one way to learn needed skills.

Twenty-seven years later, we are still looking for better ways for more students to learn. A thoughtful student had reminded us and a president that we need to provide a larger palette of helpful learning tools. Bush had well understood what he had learned from his school visit and brought political attention with more resources to help.

We are still in great need of more and better ways for our more diverse students to learn. Bush and a thoughtful student showed us how it happens. Let’s think first and then do it.

Tom King, West St. Paul

• • •

I was still a Republican while George H.W. Bush was president of the United States of America. The 41st president made it easy to be a Republican by signing into law bills protecting the environment, making the world more accessible to disabled Americans and protecting voter rights. I would still be a Republican if the current White House occupant believed in science.

I look forward to 30 days of remembering the life of George H.W. Bush. Perhaps it will give this nation a chance to examine itself and the next generation of candidates. It is possible we can find another candidate of hope if we create a political environment that supports hope. If we turn away from hate, hope will find us. We need to remember the lessons of Bush.

Larry Kiewel, Belle Plaine, Minn.

• • •

Well, it’s a sad day as we’ve lost former President George H.W. Bush. There is just so much irony surrounding this man, it’s amazing.

He was a man of the highest moral character, and yet was defeated for re-election by a man with the lowest moral character: Bill Clinton.

He ended the Cold War and then initiated the Gulf War, which lasted all of four days and was a resounding victory.

I wasn’t born despising the Washington press corps; they earned my enmity in 1987. Vice President Bush was running for president, and the press corps gave him a sobriquet: “The wimp factor.”

I thought, “Seriously?” Naval combat pilot Bush was our youngest pilot in WWII, at 18 years of age, he was flying combat missions against the Japanese, and he got shot down twice but kept flying.

I mean, if I’m ever in a plane that goes down once, and I live, I will be a train man for the rest of my life.

In the mid-1970s, he was our ambassador to China; now on the day after he dies President Donald Trump is meeting with President Xi of China.

This is truly the sad end of our greatest generation.

Rob Godfrey, St Louis Park

• • •

Many of those looking back on George H.W. Bush’s presidency fondly refer to him as “the last gentleman president.” I contend President Barack Obama was a pre-eminent gentleman. What set Bush apart was his humility.

Susan Barrett, Mora, Minn.

education

More diverse teaching force would help Minneapolis students excel

A recent study regarding workforce diversity in Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) was released and revealed that teachers of color are scarce in one of the largest school districts in Minnesota. Even though over 64 percent of the children in the district identify as students of color, 83 percent of teachers are white (MPS Racial/Ethnic Report, 2018).

This is concerning for many reasons, especially for the students of color. Approximately 37 percent of Minneapolis students are African-American and 36 percent are white. Roughly 60 percent of African-American students are not meeting reading or math standards, but only 10 percent of white students are not meeting academic standards (Minnesota Department of Education, 2018). This is an enormous achievement gap.

Minneapolis schools need to utilize better strategies for recruiting teachers of color so the teachers reflect the community that they serve. Studies reveal that African-American students do better in reading and math and are less likely to have behavioral issues when their teacher is the same race (Ordway, 2017). According to another study, historically disadvantaged groups such as African-Americans do better on standardized tests when they have a teacher who is the same race (Gershenson, 2017). In order to lessen the achievement gap, MPS must recognize the importance of minority teacher recruitment and retention and follow through on their plan of action to improve workforce diversity within the district.

Gina Benson, Crystal

Minneapolis

Extra effort, not disgusting displays, is needed to heal rift with police

The ignorance shown by some officers in the Minneapolis Police Department’s Fourth Precinct is astounding (“Officers’ ‘racist display’ roils city,” Dec. 1, 2018)! So are the comments from people who dismiss this act as a “prank” and label those who are offended as overly sensitive.

As a resident of the North Side who is not a person of color, I’m disgusted and embarrassed by the actions of these officers. It’s not funny, and it’s not a comment on the trash that unthinking people throw in the streets. Given the history of the relationship between the police and residents of this community, especially its people of color, one would think that there would be extra effort made to heal the discord rather than a continuation of the tone-deaf actions that perpetuate it.

This department, and the Fourth Precinct in particular, have a long way to go if they ever want to earn the trust of the people in this community.

Jeanne Torma, Minneapolis

• • •

While I haven’t often agreed with Mayor Jacob Frey, I support his decision to fire the foolish police officers who mounted racist ornaments on the local station Christmas tree. It put fellow officers’ lives in danger, and that is not acceptable.

Obviously, they didn’t think Fourth Precinct residents could read or understand television news. We can only hope residents show the moral and intellectual superiority this officer could not — by not sinking to that level of bigotry and assuming similar stereotypes about law enforcement.

Frederic J. Anderson, Minneapolis

• • •

Justifiable outrage is being voiced over the racist Christmas tree erected in the Fourth Precinct police station. Regardless of the trimmings, is no one else wondering why the symbol of a religious holiday was allowed in a public building?

Sally Thomas, Edina