The ACLU suit appears to be uninformed
As the person responsible for supervising Tarek ibn Ziyad charter school and a longtime member of the American Civil Liberties Union, I know TIZA is an excellent, law-abiding school. I'm a strong believer in separation of church and state, have visited the school many times and find that they are following the law. I've spent 50 years as a public school teacher and administrator, and I serve as the representative of the organization that sponsors TIZA.
The ACLU has not contacted me to find out what I've seen in the school, which is excellent academic results, a strong, positive culture of inclusion and acceptance -- a school that should be emulated, rather than prosecuted.
WAYNE JENNINGS, ST. PAUL
A Jan. 22 news story reports that the ACLU is suing a tax-supported school that apparently promotes Islamic doctrines, practices and prayer.
Article XIII, Section 2 of Minnesota's Constitution reads: "In no case shall any public money or property be appropriated or used for the support of schools wherein the distinctive doctrines, creeds or tenets of any particular Christian or other religious sect are promulgated or taught."
That wording is perfectly clear, isn't it?
The Constitution is our state's highest law, and it makes no exceptions for Muslims, Jews or Christians. I think the ACLU is correct in this case.
OLIVER STEINBERG, ST. PAUL
Katherine Kersten first blew the whistle on TIZA but apparently our state officials never investigated the issues. Now ACLU has filed suit. The question of whether or not this school promotes religion with taxpayer money is important. But there also needs to be an investigation as to why this school receives almost $11,000 per student ($4.7 million for 430 students) in state funding.
The education system cries for more and more money every year. How much is enough?
PATRICK FINLEY, EDINA
CITIES TAKE ON TRANS FATS
They're wise not to wait for the Feds to act
The Star Tribune's assertion ("Be wary of city bans aimed at trans fats," Jan. 23) that a trans fat ban would lead restaurants to switch back to saturated fat is misplaced. In fact, almost all packaged and restaurant foods -- particularly fried foods -- that have been reformulated without partially hydrogenated oil end up lower in harmful fats (saturated plus trans).
Minneapolis and St. Paul should follow New York City's lead and require nutrition labeling on chain-restaurant menus and menu boards and prohibit artificial trans fat. As the latest peanut butter outbreak demonstrates, local health officials should not wait for the federal government to solve the problem.
MICHAEL F. JACOBSON, WASHINGTON;
CENTER FOR SCIENCE IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST
The Massive deficit
Pawlenty offers nothing new, so DFL must lead
How much more of the state's budget and services must be eviscerated by our cut-cut-cut, one-trick pony of a governor before the Democrats grow a spine and stand up to Tim Pawlenty to do the right thing?
The same tried-and-true failures are being trotted out again to deal with yet another huge deficit on this governor's watch -- massive cuts to health and human services in a time when people need government services the most, coupled with tax cuts for corporations and by association, the wealthy, as if these are the only solutions.
Where is the leadership? Where is the creative thinking? Come on, Democrats.
TONY HARRIS, ANDOVER
THE SWITCH TO DIGITAL
Just because people are lazy, U.S. shouldn't delay
With weeks left until we have to switch from analog TV to digital TV, people aren't ready, says your Jan. 10 editorial. But why aren't they ready?
We have been talking about this change for six or seven years. To say people aren't ready for the change is an example of their laziness. Digital converters cost anywhere from $50 to $60. How can people not afford this box? For someone with even a low-paying job these demands aren't ridiculous. If people can't take $50 out of their paycheck one week, then they don't need to watch TV.
Postponing this event would only show how weak we are as an enforcing country by giving people break after break. Make the change before Feb. 17 or be forced to listen to the radio.
CODY GOLDSCHMIDT, OLIVIA, MINN.
Keep Old Scout's columns in Star Tribune
Like a Jan. 18 letter writer ("After Inauguration Day"), I too am relieved to see Barack Obama in the White House. But unlike the writer, I find Garrison Keillor's columns to be funny and entertaining.
Just because Keillor became known as an entertainer does not mean he is incapable of raising valid issues and having insightful things to say about them. To use an example from across the aisle -- while I personally disagree with his politics, I recognize that just because California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger became known as a bodybuilder and movie star does not mean he is incapable of taking a courageous stand regarding carbon emission caps as one way to combat global warming.
And now that the Inaugural is over, there are still plenty of worthy targets for Keillor's satire: Tim Pawlenty, Marty Seifert, John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, Michele Bachmann, Republican National Committee head Mike Duncan, etc.
I'll offer the letter writer a bargain: If I can put up with the Star Tribune printing columns by David Brooks, Michael Gerson, Charles Krauthammer, Bill Kristol, Mitch Pearlstein, Debra Saunders and George Will, he can put up with Garrison Keillor. Deal?
JIM STEMPER, MINNEAPOLIS