Solving the problem seems out of reach
In all the talk about inequality in education, there’s none about inequality in funding (“Still, the gaps persist,” Sept. 22). Rich areas fund their schools richly. Poor areas fund their schools poorly. Clearly, this must be a top concern for the next Legislature.
ROBERT HUDNUT, Cottage Grove
• • •
Sandra Vargas’ assertion that a baby of color is condemned to a life of limited opportunities ignores the obvious roles of family stability, class and educational background (“One Minneapolis: Here are several ways we’re tackling inequity,” Sept. 22).
If gaps are present in the early years of a child’s life because of have-or-have-not factors, it flies in the face of common sense to believe that children of any color and without advantages can catch up to children propelled by significant family, economic and educational resources. Children with privileges aren’t parked in neutral waiting for their less advantaged peers to catch up. Let’s not expect schools to solve a problem that is real but currently more bemoaned than understood.
BRUCE REMAK, Minneapolis
• • •
Old data seems contrary to reality
Jason Lewis’ identification of a current “troubling trend in black criminal behavior” and “appalling levels of crime committed by young African-American males” rests on five-year-old crime statistics (“Can we admit black crime is a problem?” Sept. 15). But the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice tell us that the rate of violent crime is near a 40-year low and has been on the decline since the early 1990s. It seems safe, then, to assume that Lewis is writing from his own universe.
JONATHAN GELPERIN, Golden Valley
‘Conservative,’ ‘liberal’ labels are off-point
A Sept. 22 commentary (“Meet Pope Francis — a liberal”) fueled more of the “liberal vs. conservative” battle dividing the country, which is exacerbated by social media and talk radio. State and national politicians have seemingly taken their designations seriously and refuse to compromise for the common good.
The pope is much like the rest of us — “liberal” on some matters and “conservative” on others. We would all be better off if we first sought to understand others, rather than defining them by labels.
DAN JOHNSON, Crystal
• • •
I read the pope’s recent interview and encourage a Sept. 23 letter writer to do the same. What Francis said was: “The church sometimes has locked itself up in small things, in small-minded rules.” Seven paragraphs later, he said: “We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods.” He also said: “If one has the answers to all the questions — that is the proof that God is not with him.”
Who am I to judge whether or not his thoughts and words are guided by the Holy Spirit?
JEANNINE BLOMDAHL, Mora, Minn.
• • •
Are Minnesota diplomas meaningless?
Katherine Kersten writes: “A Minnesota diploma will now be essentially meaningless” (“These are your schools on DFL dogma,” Sept. 22). Does this mean all Minnesota graduates before the advent of high-stakes testing 15 years ago have meaningless diplomas? Is that what Kersten meant to say? Really?
STEPHEN HARLAN-MARKS, Robbinsdale
• • •
Indeed, lawmakers should act as watchdogs
It’s good to know that we have conscientious legislators who are good stewards looking out for our welfare and tax dollars (“Are you worried about MNsure? We sure are,” Sept. 21). In pointing out the difficulties with the start-up of our new health care system, they are a great asset in helping to identify the problems to ensure that the system succeeds.
MYLES E. JOHNSON, Minneapolis
• • •
They’re bad business partners for state
Chump change. That’s the amount that the Wilfs are ordered to pay by a New Jersey judge for breaching their fiduciary duty to former business partners (“Vikings owners face $84.5M fine in NJ case,” Sept. 24) Chumps: Residents of a prosperous Midwestern state who will now enrich the Wilfs with a sweet financing deal for a new stadium. Change: Nothing — the deal must go through.
Legal appeals in the New Jersey case appear certain. Appeals to the Minnesota governor to end this relationship appear hopeless.
GEORGE HUTCHINSON, Minneapolis
• • •
The question of whether the Wilfs can afford to pay for their share of the Vikings’ new stadium is moot thanks to the fraud verdict. The real question for Gov. Mark Dayton and the rest of those working on the stadium deal is: Have you lost all sense of reality? These days, we’re still watching for the smallest hint of economic recovery, and you want taxpayers to contribute millions in partnership with two men with a proven history of defrauding previous business partners? Who do our state politicians work for — the Wilfs, or the people of the great state of Minnesota?
SUSAN SCHOENECKER, Eden Prairie
• • •
Twin Cities International Elementary charter school should have been included on the “Beat the Odds’’ school chart that accompanied the Sept. 22 editorial. The north Minneapolis school has a 96.5 percent poverty rate and a 63.5 percent proficiency rate in math.