All talk of reform and no real action

Scott Kielkucki’s recent commentary about the need for students to be more culpable was similar to every other education reform observation trending in social and mainstream media (“You can lead students to school, but … ,” May 30). Please pardon the metaphor, but everyone is seeking the silver bullet, which is obviously never aimed back toward those making the observation du jour.

Herein lies the problem. For numerous reasons, and many unknown motivations, everyone is pointing fingers at one group or another, or at multiple groups. Mirroring our current political discourse, this chaos known as the education reform debate is ignoring a critical component to success: Partnership. Cooperation. Between educators, students and parents.

Parents carry a heavy burden in insuring a child’s success, but parental power and influence does not have to be combative, manifesting itself through trigger laws and other tools.

In a climate of cooperative partnership, no one is let off the hook. Parents, educators and students all have responsibilities and expectations, all of which are driving toward the same goal: the successful education of today’s youths.

R.J. LAVALLEE, Shorewood

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I agree with Kielkucki’s comments; however, he didn’t suggest any solution to the problem.

In many other countries, there are two or more pathways of education. Going to high school is only for those who can pass the required tests and are willing to learn.

When I was 13, I was bored in school in Germany, and all the lectures my parents gave me didn’t help. I ended up working as a laborer for three years, which taught me that an education was a good thing. I am glad I learned that lesson early enough to make corrections. It would be good if there was a system of similar nature here in the United States.

Carl Fritsch, Edina

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Retiring justice leaves an admirable legacy

There are two aspects of Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Paul Anderson’s career that hopefully other judges can emulate (“A judicial career to savor,” May 31). Anderson grew as a judge, and he was enthusiastic about his job until the very last day. He came to the Court of Appeals with no judicial experience and was thrust into a leadership role.

Courts are complex institutions to lead. An external source picks the “partners,” and there is far less authority for chief judges than most can imagine. Your ability to lead is determined by your ability to create a vision and to get other judges to buy into that vision. Paul had a unique skill at doing that in part because of his intellect, in part because he is very savvy politically, but in very large part because he has an infectious energy and passion about the Minnesota judiciary.

Anderson served in a difficult time of transition for the Minnesota judiciary. Certainly his opinions on the Supreme Court will be of significance. But he was more than a thoughtful writer. He will leave the courts in far better shape because he cared about people, court employees and judges. If judges are able to emulate his capacity for growth and enthusiasm, he will, in a sense, have a legacy that will continue to have a great impact for many years to come.

KEVIN BURKE, Minneapolis


The writer is a Hennepin County district judge and former chief judge of that court.

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Mini-Wheats, at least, are what name implies

I note that Kellogg’s has reached a $4 million settlement in a class-action lawsuit over Mini-Wheats advertising; the company claimed it improves students’ brainpower.

How about if we take similar action against the cereals with wildly misleading names? “Honey Bunches of Oats”? Read the label; a better name would be “Sugar Bunches of Wheat.” How about a cereal called “Grape-Nuts” that contains neither grapes nor nuts?

CRAIG M. WIESTER, Minneapolis

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Paper picked bad day to spotlight the ex-con

Shame on the Star Tribune for including an article about Sara Jane Olson on Memorial Day (“Ex-con Sara Jane Olson wants to help prisoners,” May 26). What an insult to those who fought and died for this country!

LEN COLSON, Plymouth

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Aural sensibility

It’s a loud, loud, loud, loud world

Does anyone value peace and quiet anymore?

To airline executives: Please retire your 40-year-old fleets and invest some money in newer, quieter aircraft (“Quieter jet engine attracts airlines’ interest,” May 31). To owners and operators of bars and restaurants, office buildings and retail establishments of every stripe: Who told you that you had to have music and TVs blaring 24/7? To Harley owners: Grow up. Enough said.


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‘Talking points’

Retire this tactic and just tell the truth

I’m so tired of “talking points.” They’re used by both sides as a way of avoiding a question that was asked by answering one that wasn’t. What’s wrong with the simple truth? If you always tell the truth, you never have to remember what you said.