The benefits of two teachers to a class

At least a couple readers think team teaching in Minneapolis primary grades (“Mpls. to double down on grade gap,” Nov. 12) would merely double the amount of ineffective methodology (Readers Write, Nov. 13). Having two teachers in a classroom is a change in methodology, and provides many advantages.

While one teacher can work with most of the class, the other one can work with a child who needs extra individual attention, or the second teacher can support a separate group that has either fallen behind or advanced ahead. Many of us watch TV news. Just as two newscasters can provide variety and stimulating interaction, so can two teachers. Two teachers also can provide continual feedback to each other about numerous concerns, including lesson planning. One might be more versed in a method than the other, and can model that method so that both can apply it. Their individual personalities can be meshed with individual students or parents.

Let’s not overlook that teachers are human in other ways. The emotional support that one teacher might give another can positively affect interactions with students. One of the teachers might have more energy on a particular day, and that reality can be used to the advantage of children.

Teamwork is being emphasized more and more in private business. Let’s apply it in schools.

JIM BARTOS, Brooklyn Park

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I found it fascinating and appalling that the three letters printed about the Minneapolis School District’s plans to put more teachers in classrooms were from residents of Chanhassen, Edina and Alexandria. I have two children in Minneapolis schools, and I can tell you that class size matters — it is the No. 1 reason parents with means leave our school. Would you suburban parents put up with a kindergarten class of 29 with one teacher? Would you be satisfied your fourth-grader is learning well in a class of 37? Not to mention that many of those kids have high needs and have been booted from charter schools that are not obliged to keep them.

Parents and teachers who are actually in the schools are continually left out of the conversation. And now the Star Tribune reports that Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson wants to “impose an instructional protocol that tries to keep teachers on a similar curriculum” (“Superintendent’s bonus cut,” Nov. 13). Suburban parents would not stand for the dumbed-down curriculum we are witnessing being forced upon our classrooms. When will we stop spending untold millions of dollars so that foreign testing companies can tell us we are “failing” and force our teachers to teach these poorly written tests?

JENNY WARNER, Minneapolis



Board must account for human deceit

Over the past several years, I have screened hundreds of technical resources for leading financial services and health care organizations here in the Twin Cities. There is a rigorous process — on the recruiting and the client side — to ensure that candidates have what they need to do the job without putting others at risk in the workplace.

This is because people routinely lie about who they are and what they’ve done.

I’ve had pedophiles tell me they don’t have a criminal history, and threaten to sue when a background check — to which they’ve consented — finds otherwise. Other candidates have sent impostors to take skills-based tests. Yet others have provided false immigration paperwork.

We put entire organizations at risk when self-disclosure is the only layer of protection between candidates and a job. This is even more true when those candidates are nurses who are supposed to care for vulnerable patients. Yet this is what the Minnesota State Board of Nursing has as its entire screening practice (“Patients in dark over risky nurses,” Nov. 13).

Obviously, there needs to be a complete overhaul of the board’s mission and day-to-day functions. That must include — starting now — a thorough background check that includes fingerprinting.




Less of them means more power for me

Say “no” to weekend elections! (“Can weekend voting solve tepid turnout?” editorial, Nov. 13.) I have been trying for years to discourage voting! Roughly two-thirds of Minneapolis voters stayed home a week ago Tuesday, giving me the equivalent of three votes for mayor and City Council. My goal? Someday I will be the only Minneapolis voter, and all power will be mine! (Cue evil laughter.)

JEFF MOSES, Minneapolis



Governor’s tax return shows he’s a Scrooge

Gov. Mark Dayton should be deeply embarrassed by the facts revealed by his release of his 2012 tax return, which shows that his concern about the public welfare ends before it reaches his own pocketbook. Charitable contributions of $1,000 on an income of $343,000? Really? Given his income (not to mention the underlying wealth that the income represents), he could come up with $1,000 by cleaning up the loose change under his seat cushions. The governor is a lot more eager to be generous with other people’s (the taxpayers’) money than he is with his own. What a disgrace!

JOHN BEUKEMA, Minneapolis