Summer: A time when students will regress
Once again, schools are packing up books and materials as the end of the school year approaches. Once again, students will be free of lessons and assignments that would enhance their knowledge and skills. The long summer of learning loss is about to begin.
Once again, we will have had a shorter school year than other world-class schools whose students often score higher in achievement tests. Once again, many working parents will not be able to afford child care, and their children will be home alone.
When will we make a difference in the lives and achievement of our most important resource, our children? When will we invest in our student's and country's future?
We can make school curriculum more fun in the summer. We can provide more hands on lessons in science and art, and in the basics skills. Will we give this serious attention? The challenge can be met. Once again, it is up to us.
MARY AND WILLIAM SCHRANKLER, Woodbury
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Another corporate nonapology apology
After reading the headline "Accretive VP apologies, defends firm's mission" (May 31), I was hopeful that a real apology would be forthcoming. But this was not to be. Rather than sincerely admitting any misconduct, Greg Kazarian apologized for our perception that compassion was lacking. So the error is in the eye of the beholder. It may or may not have really happened; it just seemed that way to us at the time.
Worse, he hung dedicated Fairview employees out to dry. He did not choose to remind us that they were coached and cajoled by his company into doing things that are not the reason people go to work in health care.
Corporate nonapologies are becoming a dreary part of the landscape of public discourse. But then, that's just my perception.
DR. ERIC ANDERSON, MINNEAPOLIS
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A will is not the same, and not just in spirit
A May 31 letter writer thinks it's fine to deny marriage rights to gay people because he thinks that they can simply draw up a will to ensure that their wishes are carried out.
That's exactly what my partner and I have done. Our lawyer advised us that since wills can be contested by our family members (who oppose our relationship because of their religious views) that we should hold all of our major assets in living trusts.
That has been a real pain, and despite our stellar credit rating, we have been denied mortgages from companies that won't deal with living trusts. Wills are also different from marriage licenses because they cost a bundle and are out of date the moment something new is purchased.
Finally, the beneficiaries of a will have to pay taxes on the inheritance that spouses don't have to pay.
As a gay man, I get frustrated when people oppose my civil rights based on their own religious views, but it is even more annoying when people who have no moral objection to gay inheritance just want to make it harder and more expensive for gay and lesbian couples. That just seems spiteful.
And inheritance is just one small part of the civil marriage code. Should we file medical power-of-attorney papers in every state that we ever plan to visit? And what about something as basic as wanting to be each other's next-of-kin?
There's no paper for that except for adoption and marriage. Does the letter writer think that I should adopt my partner of 22 years instead of marrying him?
MATT VONK, BELDENVILLE, WIS.
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Pregnancy is merely the start of suffering
In a recent commentary ("The Republican Party finds its soul," May 27), we are reminded of the prolife stance of Ron Paul and the Republicans. We are also reminded of their disdain for "Obamacare."
Recently, it was noted by various news services that "in a 20 year analysis of newborn death rates around the world, the study published in PLoS Medicine revealed the number of infants who die before they are 4 weeks old account for 41% of child deaths worldwide. Newborn deaths in the United States ranked 41 out of 45 among industrialized countries, on par with Qatar and Croatia."
The reason for the poor outcomes of babies born in the United States: poor health care available to the mothers. I can only conclude that such a prolife stance is conditional upon it not costing anyone outside of the immediate family of the newborn.
DON LOHREY, BURNSVILLE
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Why is approval of abortion not rising with acceptance of gay marriage and premarital childbearing ("Polls reveal conundrum on social issues," May 31)? Perhaps the secret is getting out that abortion is not good for women. The long-lasting psychological damage alone is enough to make thoughtful people think again.
DR. ROSS S. OLSON, MINNEAPOLIS
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BOB DYLAN'S CRITICS
More than answers are blowing in the wind
I see no irony in Bob Dylan receiving a "Medal Of Freedom" award. He's done more as an American pop artist to promote freedom than many of the previous winners. Where does a May 31 letter writer find any references to "spitting" on (or at) returning Vietnam troops in a Bob Dylan song?
I've looked and I can't find any. Please help me understand this "irony," because I think this award to Mr. Dylan is long overdue.
JACK SMITH, PLYMOUTH