Here’s what I want my kids to be taught

The Star Tribune reports that education ranks as the top issue for Minneapolis citizens as we prepare to elect a new mayor. Indeed, we all care about the education of our children; as a father of three kids in Minneapolis public schools, I do, too. But to focus only on performance misses the mark.

I would rather that we have a conversation and debate on formation. What kind of citizens do we want when they graduate?

Of course we want our children to read, reflect, create, write, and solve complex problems. But I also hope, through the care and attention of their teachers and staff, they will learn conflict-resolution skills; that there are nonviolent ways to solve differences and problems; empathy and compassion for differing voices and opinions, and respect for the diversity of their classmates. Like all urban school districts, the teachers and staff of Minneapolis schools are trying to do a lot with very little.

My kids will each spend many hours this school year with their individual teachers. These teachers will have an enormous impact on my kids and your kids, shaping their character, hopes and dreams. Let us invest in our teachers and staff with realistic classroom sizes and the necessary resources so that they have the time to care for and love our kids into the future citizens of this great city.

The Rev. G. TRAVIS NORVELL, Minneapolis

* * *



We aren’t entitled to this feeling? Wrong.

So, according to Eliot A. Cohen, only those killed or injured in war, or their families, are entitled to “war-weariness” (“Americans’ exaggerated ‘war-weariness’,” Sept. 16). How about people in whose name soldiers are sent to kill and be killed in other countries in unprovoked wars — wars in which thousands of innocent people are killed? How could any civilized person not be “weary?” Video games and gory movies do not kill thousands of people. We cannot “change the channel” on a war.

“No one has raised our taxes to pay for war.” In what world does Cohen live? Does he think our wars are paid for with bake sales?

“For a president to confess to war-weariness is to confess weakness.” In what way is a war-averse president “weak?” It is the ultimate test of strength to resist the drumbeat of war and of those who profit from war and control.

I am lucky enough to have not yet fought in a war, or to have had a family member killed in one. But I am plenty weary of wars and warmongering.

DAN FREIBERG, Golden Valley

* * *



The attention isn’t all about her actions, is it?

In regard to the idea that there is too much about U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann in the media (Letters of the Day, Sept. 13): Let’s face it, readers, editors and publishers. If Bachmann knocked out a front tooth, grew a big wart on her nose and was suddenly afflicted with crossed eyes, we would have to perpetually hunt in the media for news of her. Let the whole of us examine our consciences.


* * *



Take it seriously (but don’t take it personally)

I would like to commend the editors of this fine newspaper for running an important opinion piece about a women who was shamed for using food stamps in Edina. Sue Bulger (“To that irritated lady at the store,” Sept. 13) appears to be a lone voice talking about the casual elitism and indifference toward the lower economic classes in the western suburbs.

The wealthy suburbs of the west metro are constantly brought to the public attention for having good athletic programs, and for being listed consistently as top places to live. While there are a lot of positive aspects here, there are also issues that are grossly overlooked.

A few years ago, at an Eden Prairie High School basketball game, our student section started a chant of “food stamps” directed at Hopkins players. Our high school recently bought laptops for more than 3,000 students, while some inner-city schools don’t even have air conditioning systems.

The separation of wealth between rich and poor in the suburbs has been consistently growing. People should be outraged, but nobody (except for Bulger) is talking about these issues of suburban elitism. I recommend you keep a closer eye on the subtle and not-so-subtle makings of a hierarchy in the Twin Cities suburbs.

JON MEHLHAUS, Eden Prairie

• • •

The shame isn’t in using food stamps, it’s in having skin so thin that one feels compelled to write a commentary chastising another individual who expressed disapproval of one’s situation at a grocery store.

This is real life. Some people judge others. Some people are rude. Some people are not as friendly as you’d prefer. Get over it, already.

Rather than be concerned over the opinion of a stranger, rise above it by knowing you are the better person. Complaining in a public forum only validates the opinion — right or wrong — of the person you feel slighted you to begin with.