Support early ed, but don't stop there


Sincere thanks to the business executives who formed Parent Aware for School Readiness and advocate funding of high-quality preschool education, especially for low-income students ("Tax dollars well-spent? It's possible," Jan. 18). Those paying attention have long known that such funding was urgently needed.

Now, may these same executives also join support for restoring the state funding taken away from education over the past 10 years, and committing to quality education throughout high school and enabling wider access to higher education.

A key enabling step would be graduated tax rates for people with six-figure incomes, such as I remember proudly paying when I enjoyed a healthy business executive income back in the 1970s and early '80s.


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We should expect that standards will evolve


Despite the concerns raised in a recent commentary ("History is history under proposed K-12 standards," Jan. 18), it is realistic to expect the social-studies curriculum to be changed over time. The American history course my mother taught in 1930 was vastly different from the one I taught in 2000, even for the same periods of time. Teaching history has always been controversial, since facts are interpreted in so many ways and since, as time passes, the relevance of one event is integrated with all the other events to form a different perspective.

Some people think we should focus on the fact that our founding fathers owned slaves and had children that were slaves. This contradicts our Declaration of Independence, which claims that we were all created equal. Think of the excellent position/opinion papers that could be written on that topic that could also involve debate and primary source research. (And now we expose the reality of teaching American history: You can't teach it all, and most teachers will teach with a textbook that determines the curriculum in the real world.) Thankfully, there is no state test in social studies, and contrary to what some ideological determinists want us to believe, there is no simple or single definition of "patriotism."


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U.S. is hardly alone in producing casualties


U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison's recent article decrying U.S. drone strikes and attendant civilian casualties ("Congress must take control of drones," Jan. 15) raised a valid point. In war, innocents are often the victims; I wish it were not so. However, Ellison made no mention of the innocents killed by roadside bombs, car bombs and suicide bombers. The Star Tribune, in a short item Jan. 17, noted that a car bomb in Iraq killed at least 19 people and wounded more than 200. Suicide bombers in Afghanistan killed at least one guard and injured 33 civilians. Is it only civilian deaths caused by the United States that concern Ellison?


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Complaints reveal a double standard


The outrage spewing from those who take issue with Pine River County Sheriff Robin Cole's decision to protect the Second Amendment rights of the citizens he serves ("Sheriff says he won't act on any new gun edicts," Jan. 16) could only be described as bordering on blatant hypocrisy. Where is this outrage when big-city mayors, including those of Minneapolis and St. Paul, spit in the face of federal immigration laws by declaring their communities "sanctuary cities"? If it were not for the double standard, many of those on the political left would have no standards at all.


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Diversity of viewpoints must be protected ...


It's not surprising that the Star Tribune Editorial Board supports cross-ownership of media (editorial, Jan. 18). But, aye, there's a big, big rub.

With the consolidation of media companies over the past 20 to 30 years, we've seen the sterilization and denigration of quality, principled journalism. That's the very antitheses of the FCC's and the Star Tribune's lofty stated common goal: diversity in newsgathering and presentation. Merely doing either or both in a variety of media does not guarantee an actual diversity of viewpoints.

The fact that News Corp. owns newspapers and television stations in New York City, the most cosmopolitan of them all, has not broadened New Yorkers' perspective one whit, because -- except perhaps in style -- there's little difference between the New York Post tabloid and the once-respected Wall Street Journal, as both essentially present the same views spewed by cable TV's Fox News channel, also owned by News Corp.

The mistake the editorialists and the FCC make is maintaining the continued perspective of individual market-based news presentation. The Internet has brought many a newspaper down precisely because it offers the broadest possible perspective of the most essential elements of news, its gathering, its presentation and, most important, the number of viewpoints.


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... or not. Maybe you just do it like this ...


I would like to apply for the position of editor. I am totally ready for the job. On Mondays I will have an anti-Michele Bachmann article at the top of the front page (evidence not required). On Tuesday, the top front will feature a positive article about the president or Amy Klobuchar. On Wednesday, we strike at Bachmann again. Page 6 will feature an article proving global warming or evolution. At least two days a week, the front page will have an article telling us how great the economy is doing. Do I have the job?