I received a parking citation for expired tabs. Had the officer bothered to check, he would have seen that I purchased them months earlier but, due to the documented multimillion-dollar disaster that is MNLARS, never received them in the mail. (Alternatively, because of the MNLARS debacle, maybe he wouldn’t have seen anything.) Regardless, with an extensive, indefensible history of MNLARS’s failures, how dare the city of Minneapolis issue citations for expired tabs. Certainly it knows full well that many if not most of its citations are due to errors on the government’s end — not the fault of the drivers. After waiting 20 minutes beyond my scheduled appointment time, my hearing officer would not acknowledge the system’s problems, or dismiss the charge.
Kyle Eidsness, Minneapolis
STUDENTS AND PROTEST
When you stand for something, others will oppose; don’t despair
To all the students who have raised their voices, carried signs, written to representatives and marched in the streets for sensible gun laws, I support you (“We’re for real; don’t dismiss us,” Readers Write, March 9). To all of you who have eloquently spoken and written about your basic desire for safety, I cheer you on. Our generations have failed you. We haven’t fought hard enough to protect you. We haven’t voted in the representatives who would have the power to make the reasonable changes that would make a real difference in cutting gun violence.
The voices that say that you are “brainwashed” show a desperation to suggest that a 17-year-old who does not want to be killed while getting an education would only feel that way because of indoctrination. There will be many who will stand in the way. Many who will suggest that you can’t think for yourself. But you can. I have heard you. And I am inspired. You are brilliant, courageous, tireless, committed. And I along with many in the older generations have your back and are willing to follow your lead.
Lynn Fryberger MacLean, Duluth
The writer is a teacher.
• • •
Back in the 1960s and ’70s, I recall taking to the streets to end the Vietnam War. Like the kids today, we waved signs and screamed until our throats hurt and our voices were hoarse. We made ourselves heard. We were told the same things that these kids are hearing today. We were told to shut up; America, love it or leave it; do your duty and serve and fight.
We did end the war and only lost four people in Ohio. Today we’re losing kids from school shootings at an outrageous rate, yet our leaders are more interested in a rigid interpretation of the Second Amendment than protecting our children.
These children are our future and we should listen to them. God bless them.
Jim Ales, Burnsville
• • •
The March 9 letter writer claimed that high school students demand stricter gun laws. Perhaps some do, but they do not speak for all or even most of us. Many, if not most, of us realize just how incredibly low the risk of a mass shooting at any given high school is. The last thing we want is for our constitutional rights to be stripped from us and for it to be claimed as for our protection.
Walter Treat, Chanhassen
The writer is a high school student.
SCHOOLS AND POLITICS
Encourage, don’t suppress, engagement with issues
Wow. A state Republican bill to limit free speech and political debate in our public schools (“Bill aims to limit politics in school,” March 9). Perhaps a mandatory course in critical-thinking skills in our schools would be a better way to go. Let’s mandate that course in our Legislature, too.
Teaching people how to think rather than limiting their exposure to information would be worthy of our efforts to heal anger and divisions. How about limiting the access politicians have to our students in school, too, unless all parties are represented?
Mary Jane Miller, Minnetonka
• • •
State Sen. Carla Nelson was quoted in the March 9 story as saying: “It is absolutely imperative ... that we do not let our public education system fall into what is happening to the rest of our society, which is so much anger.” As a Minnesotan currently teaching in an international school overseas, I find her solution to this — the proposed Senate bill — problematic.
My classroom has students from across the globe: Americans, Russians, South Koreans, Eastern Europeans and more than 60 other nationalities. It would be an understatement to say that our classrooms are diverse with experiences, perspectives and opinions. But the students all are privileged financially. As such, they have access to a high-level education that uses one of the most rigorous and well-reputed curricula in the world. They do well; the majority go on to top universities, where they are further trained to become the innovators and problem-solvers of the future.
So what drives the academics of the most well-reputed curricula in the world? Exactly what Nelson seems to think is dangerous for students: an emphasis on intercultural understanding in pursuit of ethical leadership in an interconnected world.
Let me be clear: We do “indoctrinate” our students. Moreover, they “indoctrinate” one another. Through rich content and discussion in the classrooms and experiences beyond, they demonstrate value in continuing to develop self-awareness of their own ideological and personal assumptions, and an appreciation of the vibrancy of diverse cultural perspectives. Nelson would have you assume that classrooms like ours promote anger. I would argue the opposite. Only when students can explore the rich contexts of identity can they become the critical thinkers and compassionate leaders that our world so desperately needs.
I will be teaching in Minnesota for the first time in my career next fall. I plan on continuing to support students as they develop their own critical consciousness. If Nelson would rather I train students as academic robots, I won’t be back for long.
Lindsey Weaver, Lakeville
NORTH KOREA MEETING
Trump can’t do this alone
Good news: President Donald Trump will meet with the leader of North Korea to discuss denuclearization of that country (“Trump, Kim Jong Un plan historic summit,” March 9).
Bad news: He has not appointed an ambassador to South Korea, has no team of knowledgeable advisers to strategize for meeting with Kim Jong Un, and the Kim rendezvous is soon.
Mr. Trump needs help. He needs someone experienced with the ins and outs of diplomacy. He needs an adviser who can act and keep the details quiet. He needs a partner who is familiar with the arcane language of high-level agreements. He works well with those familiar with his needs and wants. Who could that person be?
Paul Hager, Northfield
UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA
Three budget imperatives
The March 9 article “U offers to freeze in-state tuition” (in exchange for a $10 million in state funding) describes what would be a short-term fix for a long-term problem.
The University of Minnesota currently has separate budgets for athletics and academics. One is flush with TV revenues and encourages the war between teams relative to lavish multimillion-dollar salaries for football coaches, etc., while the academic endeavors are placed on a diet. Why should an assistant football coach make three times more than a professor?
The Legislature and governor should institute the following:
1. A single integrated budget that compels the university to set priorities.
2. A total independent review of university administrative costs vs. similar functions in state and local governments.
3. A review of the independent role of faculty which is necessary to protect the university’s academic mission from undue administrative interference.
Arne H. Carlson, Minneapolis
The writer was governor of Minnesota from 1991 to 1999.