It is indeed a tragic loss for a congregation when its house of worship is closed and threatened with demolition (“Prayers for preservation,” March 11). With its loss goes the memory of a pioneering people who chose to settle in our state and, often with the labor of their own hands, erected a house of worship. These buildings, many of them white, clapboard structures with their steeples reaching toward the sky, have always been a part of our state’s landscape. While it is impossible to preserve all of these historic houses of worship, it is possible for us to preserve their histories for future generations. I would urge county historical societies to prepare volunteers to go out and photograph their houses of worship, gather their histories, conduct oral interviews with members, and see that this information is stored in their archives and the archives of the Minnesota Historical Society, where it will be available to researchers seeking information on our state’s diverse religious and ethnic heritage, once visible in its houses of worship that are no longer there.

Marilyn J. Chiat, Minnetonka

FOR-PROFIT COLLEGES

We dispute the data cited in attorney general’s commentary

Students should have access to relevant and timely information when selecting an institution of higher education. The same applies to government officials when regulating these institutions. Unfortunately, Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson received incorrect and misleading information, and those data points appeared in her recent commentary on the subject of private-sector colleges and universities (“State needs to make for-profit colleges more transparent,” March 12).

Her article contends that private-sector institutions don’t graduate students and that when they do, those students can’t find jobs or repay their loans. The attorney general is flat wrong.

First, Swanson’s piece uses a claim from the U.S. Department of Education about the earnings of our students that was found by the Washington Post (http://tinyurl.com/lnsr3am) to be false and misleading.

Second, missing from the attorney general’s commentary is any context to students served. Private-sector institutions graduate students at nearly three times the rate of community colleges, who serve similar students, while also having lower rates of default than community-college borrowers (http://tinyurl.com/o8xwezm).

Finally, when it comes to earnings, we recently conducted an analysis using U.S. Department of Education data and found that students graduating from our programs in fields like health care, automotive or information technology more than double their earnings (http://tinyurl.com/q9mwu8n).

Students, and their families, put considerable thought into the decision to pursue higher education. They need the best information in a transparent and consumer-friendly manner. All stakeholders should work together to make sure that the facts trump rhetoric.

Steve Gunderson, Alexandria, Va.

The writer is president and CEO of the Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities.

 

WATER QUALITY

The Legislature can perform a very needed oversight role

The Star Tribune Editorial Board is wrong to claim that requiring legislative approval of certain costly water-quality standards would be a “step backward when it comes to water protection” (“Keep politics out of water,” March 7). We all want to believe that the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is “guided by science instead of politics” and that its costly new regulatory proposals will make a measurable difference in water quality. Unfortunately, that is not the reality. Testimony has shown that the MPCA has ignored good science and is promoting regulations that have not been used in other states and that will have a negligible impact on water quality.

The limited legislative oversight contained in the bills opposed by the Editorial Board should not be needed, but unfortunately there are few tools to rein in an overzealous state agency. The Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities brought these bills forward to stop regulations that do little or nothing to improve water quality and that are costly, unscientific and arbitrary. We are happy that many legislators of both parties support the legislation and hope they will not be intimidated by the false claims that legislative oversight of the MPCA will harm water quality. We all want clean water, but we should also want to spend our resources wisely on measures that will actually accomplish this objective.

Heidi Omerza, Ely, Minn.

The writer is a member of the Ely City Council and is president of the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities.

 

THE FACE ON THE $20 BILL

Leave history alone and think about future opportunities

Replacing President Andrew Jackson on the $20 bill? (“Any of these women would be better than Jackson,” Readers Write, March 9.) This is another crackpot idea from a wild-eyed flaming liberal bent on sterilizing the world with political correctness. I’m not defending Jackson, but it’s not too hard to find something wrong with everyone, especially politicians.

Who decides the best replacement? Congress? Seventy-five percent of the people don’t think members of Congress can do their jobs now. Draw a name out of a hat, then? One thing is certain. Whoever the candidates are, we’ll all have a jolly good time engaging in that great American pastime: nitpicking and squabbling over whose candidate is most worthy.

I’m not opposed to a female face on our currency. Actually, it’s a good idea. But I am opposed to recasting the past to fit our newly adopted norms of what is right and wrong. Let history remain history. If the government issues a new denomination — maybe a $3 bill — that would be a good time to honor a deserving female.

By the way, Sacagawea is honored on the 29-cent stamp issued in 1994 and the gold dollar coin since 2000.

Alice Paul appears on the 78-cent stamp in the “Great Americans” series and on the $10 gold coin, issued in 2012 as part of the “First Spouse” series. She wasn’t a presidential spouse, but was included by an act of Congress.

Jeff Burow, Burnsville

• • •

With regard to the March 9 letter: Sacagawea did not help to “lead the Lewis and Clark expedition.” The notion that she did is a myth that refuses to die. She was an Indian-language translator. Clark referred to her as their “interpretres.” He misspelled, but one gets his point. Doubters can consult James Ronda’s seminal book “Lewis and Clark among the Indians,” or read the words of those who were actually there, in the journals of the expedition.

Dave Hauschild, Blaine

 

THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN

After Clinton’s rough stretch …

Three things on my mind: Bernie Sanders/Elizabeth Warren/2016.

Renee Noteboom, Cook, Minn.