Stewart's actions prompt questions

As a taxpayer deeply concerned about Minneapolis School Board Member Christopher Stewart's behavior recently, I'm wondering if the school board can address some questions I have:

(1) Why was Burroughs Elementary Principal Tim Cadotte placed on administrative leave, whereas Mr. Stewart has had no repercussions? Can we expect to see any changes in Mr. Stewart's position? It just doesn't seem right that the principal is accused of racism and then is forced to take an administrative leave for defending the claim against him. If someone has to be placed on leave, shouldn't both parties be until an investigation is complete?

(2) Is there an investigation, or fact-finding mission, in place to find out what really happened? If so, does it include placing the burden on Mr. Stewart to justify his claim, as opposed to placing it on Principal Cadotte to defend himself, or is Principal Cadotte not innocent until proven guilty?

(3) Does the board have a mechanism in which the members either sanction one another or recommend that a member submit a letter of resignation if he/she acts unprofessionally?

(4) Is there a mechanism in place for the community to publicly request his resignation (whether it be a public forum that is scheduled, or a petition that is circulating)?




White privilege at Burroughs

Amid the accusations of racism, the issue at Burroughs Elementary is better described as white privilege.

Can a school that is performing very well opt out of the changes proposed by the district?

Burroughs' student popula- tion is approaching 80 percent white and middle-class sitting in a district that is 70 percent minority with approximately 60 percent of its students living near the poverty line.

Minneapolis has a recognized achievement gap between white students and students of color. On top of all that, Minneapolis schools are dealing with another multimillion-dollar budget deficit.

So what else is it then if Burroughs stands up and says, "We are doing fine, Minneapolis, make all the changes you want, just do not make any at our school"?




DFL stands in way of racino solution

Neal St. Anthony's column [April 28 Star Tribune] hit the nail on the head. Racinos at Canterbury Park and Running Aces are an obvious part of the solution to the state's budget problems.

Republican legislators generally support this, so the question is whether DFL legislators will respond to the "public interest" or continue their servile ways in response to "special interests."

Polls show that a large majority of Minnesotans favor the racinos, and these were taken before the current budget problems began to plague our state.

On the other hand, the Indian Gaming Association and its dozens of "hired-gun" lobbyists throw millions into DFL campaign coffers.

Which is it to be, DFLers? A solution for all Minnesotans? Or caving in to a special interest?



University needs to change its priorities

If you regard thriftiness, humility and unpretentiousness as virtues, it's hard to see much to like about the colos- sal, grandiose, 2009 University of Minnesota, with its big salaries, big buildings, big sports, big tuitions.

If I were young, I'd think twice about attending a school burdened by thick layers of administrators with Wall Street salaries, a multimillion-dollar sports establishment, and a building program of Roman Empire proportions.

A state-sponsored college's mission should be to provide its citizens the opportunity for a low-cost, high-quality education. On this score, the MnSCU schools would seem to be a far better deal for a student than is the U of M.

When the current U president's term expires in 2011, I am confident that the pendulum will swing back from his 1980s-style big-business model of college administration toward an education-first focus more appropriate to today's economic climate. But we'll still be paying for those gigantic new buildings ...



Principles are gone from politics

It seems increasingly likely that Minnesota is about to have a comedian as a senator, and one with a raunchy reputation, at that. Elected, I suspect, by some of the same eccentrics who thought Jesse Ventura should be governor.

Whatever happened to the principles we sought, and found, in "Clean Gene" McCarthy, Hubert Humphrey, Luther Youngdahl, Elmer Andersen and Harold LeVander? Don't we value highly principled officials any more?

It all boils down to the old truism that we have too many Democratic Senators and too many Republican Senators and not enough United States Senators.