While I agree in principle with writer Adam Platt that the Minneapolis Public Schools should strive to increase parental participation and engagement (“A parent’s-eye view of Minneapolis Public Schools,” Opinion Exchange, Oct. 20), his picayune complaints against Southwest High School seem to reveal his actual frustration: that the world does not inconvenience itself at his request. Mr. Platt grumbles about having to rearrange his work schedule to secure a bus pass for his daughter but cannot fathom why the school did not ask its staff to rearrange theirs. It seems he feels he is entitled to receive this service from the school when it most suits him, not when is most feasible for dedicated school staff. Furthermore, Platt doesn’t understand why the school doesn’t work with the neighborhood to allow street parking during large events; it seems that he actually feels “debased” because the rules apply to him. If concern over a parking ticket is so stressful, couldn’t he follow his daughter’s example and take the bus?
Hillis Byrnes, Minneapolis
The writer is a special-education teacher.
• • •
I can’t believe the Star Tribune’s opinion editors devoted half a page and an illustration to Platt’s arrogant, shortsighted piece of drivel. Platt’s double-income family chose to send children to Southwest High School and Platt now complains that it’s a hassle for them to take free public transportation from one of the most affluent neighborhoods in the city. Meanwhile, despite his apparent belief, the city does not send over its officers to write traffic citations during school events (sorry if he must walk a couple of blocks from his car).
I’m a proud parent of a Southwest student and know firsthand that the counselors, staff and teachers have been more than accommodating and responsive when we’ve had issues, despite working through turnover with principals, athletic directors, funding crises, behavioral issues, etc. Have we seen Platt at any school fundraisers? Has he supported the athletic events, or academic or amazing fine-arts showcases? Does he volunteer? He needs to rechannel his anger and judgment and start being a positive parent advocate for our kids’ public education.
Jennifer Seeger, Minneapolis
There was something amiss in Tice’s backward-looking column
D.J. Tice (“Test of time: What school expectations used to be,” Oct. 20) dismissed the difference between 1893 schools and today’s with one simple phrase about an “excuse” for the differences (that “only a small, advantaged population went to high school in the old days”). What a cop-out! Where were all those who didn’t go to high school? On the farm or in factories or at home cooking, cleaning and taking care of many children!
As a former teacher of English and special ed, I am well aware of what was expected of all students in “mainstreaming” and education for all — especially with older teachers who believed that teaching the way they were taught was the best. Yes, there is much room for improvement in teaching, but it won’t come from attacking those who are trying their best.
Judy Nelson, Anoka
• • •
Math scores plummet, reading scores are stagnant and graduation rates are rising. These are among outcomes Tice cites in his column.
Our young people, if they stay in school, graduate because of their age, not what they have learned. If you can’t read or do math at the fourth-grade level when in fourth grade, you move on to fifth grade. If you can’t read or do math at the eighth-grade level when you are in the eighth grade, you move on to ninth grade.
It’s kind of sad that more isn’t being done to educate all. There are smart kids that could do well in a class size of 40 to 45, college-style. There are others who really need help and would benefit from small groups or classes.
There is a lot of money spent on education, and the results are going in the wrong direction. The money needs to go where it’s needed, not where it is fair. Kids shouldn’t be moving up in grades because of their age; they should be advancing based on their knowledge. If Apple or Ford or even Cub Foods had a 45% failure rate with one of their products or services, it would get fixed. They wouldn’t ask for more money or come up with excuses, they would solve the problem. Let’s put the money where it needs to go.
Kelly Morlock, Eden Prairie
It would be wise and compassionate to allow for felons’ rehabilitation
What good news that the ACLU’s suit to restore voting rights to felons has such wide support in Minnesota (“Suit seeks to restore the vote to felons,” Oct. 22). Accepting the rights and responsibilities of citizenship is a crucial step in full rehabilitation for people who have broken the law. Under our current laws, one of the plaintiffs in the case at issue was convicted of drug possession in her late 20s, served time in prison and is now a drug counselor, but will be prevented from voting for the next 40 years until she is 71! If everybody who made a similar mistake in their 20s were caught, we would be hard-pressed to find enough people to staff the polls — and really wouldn’t need to for the dozen or so of us still eligible to vote. Allowing every citizen to vote is an essential ingredient of restorative justice.
Kathleen Coskran, Minneapolis
Thanks for that utterly unsurprising information
So a reputable polling organization demonstrates that leading Democrats would defeat President Donald Trump (front page, Oct. 21). A rational person could regard these results newsworthy — perhaps even deserving of making front-page headlines. I’m not that person. My sarcastic reaction was: Really? In a state that has a national reputation for good government, the majority of its electorate rejects an incompetent president? In a state where the average seventh-grader understands and respects our system of three coequal branches of government, the majority favors the Democratic candidates? In a state where elected leaders included persons of integrity and vision — like Paul Wellstone, Arne Carlson, Walter Mondale and Hubert Humphrey — the majority favors the Democratic candidates? Wow! Who would have thought?
So what’s next? A poll that concludes that most Minnesotans believe the tooth fairy is not real?
Richard Masur, Minneapolis
ST. PAUL TRASH
Take it from a neighbor: You’ll appreciate organized collection
As a Minneapolitan, I enjoyed almost 30 years of excellent trash collection service in our neighborhood before moving into a condo last year. It included recycling and eventually composting, so we had three bins in our alley. Yes, we were “forced” to use the company the city gave us. I’m grateful that I didn’t have to listen to an unlimited number of extra collection trucks, chosen by my neighbors, coming through the alley all week. I really hesitate to say anything against my beloved sibling city, St. Paul, but after all the uproar against organized trash collection, I’m a little embarrassed for you. My sisterly advice is to vote “yes” on the trash referendum. I don’t think you will regret it.
Sandra Boes O’Brien, Minneapolis
We want to hear from you. Send us your thoughts here.