Another failure, as personally witnessed

Q Comp, as assessed by the University of Minnesota and St. Catherine’s, has been ineffective with students despite a legislative tab approaching half a billion dollars (“Pay plan gets poor report card,” Nov. 16).

Earlier assessments and teacher feedback had already indicated that the now 10-year-old project would flop.

As a conscripted Q Comp soldier, I witnessed teachers performing amazing tasks to advance students. Yet Q Comp never rewarded those teachers as promised (the study showed it never had the tools to objectively measure individual, or even collective teacher performance). Thus, no teachers received compensation for specific, outstanding work. In fact, Q Comp did the reverse: It rewarded all teachers for participation and compliance, regardless of individual achievement.

Should legislators wait for future report cards on the program before defunding it (a 15- or 20-year progress report)? Certainly not, yet taxpayers should know that this latest education failure is likely another “untouchable” and “unmentionable” in the House and Senate, a public accounting only adding to the lengthy legislative legacy of mismanagement in education funding (e.g., Profile of Learning).

Without demand for a serious review of Q Comp’s fatal flaws, taxpayers should prepare to celebrate the next great (and expensive) innovation in education reform.

STEVE WATSON, Minneapolis



Rewards and perks too readily given

If the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system now needs a plan to “improve dramatically how we do our work” (Star Tribune, Nov. 21), why did the trustees award the former chancellor a $40,000 bonus in addition to his $360,000 salary (Star Tribune, June 17, 2010) in his final year?

If the University of Minnesota now needs a new “strategic plan” (Star Tribune, Nov. 9), why did former senior administrators receive $2.8 million in compensation (Star Tribune, Feb. 27, 2012) as they were leaving their positions?


• • •

Why would a new building for the state Senate need a gymnasium? (“Dayton cool to plans for Senate building,” Nov. 21.) The Legislature comes to St. Paul to make laws, not to work out. If senators feel the need to work out and stay in shape, they can get a membership at a fitness club.

Another example of spending taxpayers’ money on something not necessary.

DICK RIES, Shakopee

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The $90 million building that state senators are designing for themselves assumes that we, the public, work for them. No, it is the other way around.

If this venture is valid, then it should be part of an election campaign. This would permit the senators to fully and openly discuss this need with their constituents who employ them, and they will decide.



The writer was governor of Minnesota from 1991-1999.



Don’t confuse state and federal versions

The Minnesota Senate’s “We The People Act” was cited by a Nov. 20 letter writer. This act would require the U.S. Congress to submit for passage a constitutional amendment that would reverse the U.S. Supreme Court ruling of Citizens United, which made corporations people, and would disallow corporations from using corporate funds for political purposes. Sounds like a great idea to me.

Just make sure that when you hear about a “We The People Act” at the federal level, you don’t mistake it for the state bill. The one at the federal level is authored by Ron Paul and basically states that the U.S. Supreme Court cannot overturn any state laws. It is nothing more than Tea Party ideology.

PATRICK G. BORRELL, Waverly, Minn.



Don’t go thinking it’ll work for you

As a person who believes in reasonable measures of gun control in our country, I look to the daily news with a continuing sense of frustration and dismay. In light of this, I was disappointed to see the Nov. 16 headline celebrating a quick-thinking burglary victim who was able to get to his gun and kill the young man who was threatening him (“Gun to head, man thought fast”). I would criticize the Star Tribune for choosing it for the top of the front page and painting it with black-and-white brush strokes of a good guy with a gun defeating a bad guy with a gun. I could just imagine the NRA cheering, perhaps making T-shirts. Never mind the dead person, since he was a bad guy. Never question whether there are other ways to protect our property or our persons. So we go on, waiting for the next shooting. The gun lobby’s hold over our country is, and should be, one of our greatest shames. In the future, please try not to assist it.