TEACH FOR A DAY
See how Pawlenty's budget fails the schools
It is disappointing to see the Star Tribune congratulate our governor and call him a "visionary" (editorial, Jan. 29) when he proposes a budget that does not support the public school system but attempts to coerce it into a philosophy that does not work and further diminishes the capability of the schools to meet the demands of educating a growing diversity of students in the 21st century.
The governor and the Editorial Board seem to think that if we bribe teachers with more pay, they will work harder and -- lo and behold -- all will be well. What we really need is funding that increases the ratio of teacher to student in the classroom to the point where each student will get adequate time and attention for their particular educational needs.
The editorial writers and the governor may be unaware that students learn in different ways, at different speeds and in different languages. They can start to correct this lack of knowledge by teaching for a day in a metro or rural school. It would be good for their souls and they may be better, wiser people.
MARTHA GORSKY, NEW HOPE
THE CONSUMER SPEAKS
And food producers and others may be listening
Thank you for publishing Kim Ode's article on Strauss Veal's decision to switch to "free-raised" veal (Taste, Jan. 29). This is not a story about a caring, conscientious veal production company -- it's about the power of the consumer.
That Strauss Veal's goal in switching to more humane methods of raising the calves "was to find a less controversial process" -- and not to create better lives for the animals -- is very telling. It's clear that without shrinking veal consumption, due largely to animal rights groups educating the public on its horrific production methods, no changes would ever have been made.
Of course it's not only our food choices that have an ethical impact: choices in clothing, beauty, and cleaning products (to name a few) all have important implications in terms of both animal treatment and environmental impact. I hope your article will steer people toward more thoughtful spending choices.
BILL LEHTO, FARMINGTON
STOP THE MADNESS
Billions in Wall Street bonuses are an outrage
Good grief! $18 billion in 2008 bonus money paid out in just one sector of our economy. How much is that? Here's just one example: It would fund 300,000 teachers for a year (basis: $60,000 annual cost of pay and benefits per teacher).
Executive compensation has gone beyond obscene! Boards of directors lack common sense, as do our lawmakers who subsidize such craziness. It has to stop.
GRANT NORTH, EDINA
HOUSE VOTE ON STIMULUS
GOP dissenters draw bouquets and brickbats
I have just two words for the House Republicans who voted against the "stimulus package": Thank you!
B. KANTOROWICZ, COON RAPIDS
GOP members of Congress are acting like the boyfriend on Court TV who killed his girlfriend so no one else could have her. It's as if the U.S. public should be punished for rejecting their policies that brought us to this point in our history. Their 100 percent rejection of the stimulus bill passed last week is a perfect example of this.
GREGG HARCUS, EDEN PRAIRIE
FAILURE TO PAY TAXES
Will Senate stop Daschle and fellow Dems?
It looks as if the IRS has a new weapon for collecting taxes from high-profile Democrats. Just appoint them to a high post that needs Senate confirmation! Tom Daschle is the latest well-known politician realizing he should pay taxes like everyone else when he receives a Cabinet post. Too bad the media ignore those things when it is a Democrat.
LARRY A SORENSON, ARLINGTON, MINN.
Massive student debt
Consider community service and maturity
Wy Spano's suggestion to forgive all student loans (Opinion Exchange, Jan. 29) certainly is valid in the current economic situation but does nothing to address the underlying problem of massive student debt.
Why not consider some combination of community service and two years of free tuition, the service coming before entering college? Or, if someone wants to enter college right out of high school, structure the award to pay for the last two years of college tuition upon certification from the college that the student is on track to graduate with a specific major.
I think the maturity angle has to be a component of any tuition award -- all of the GI Bill students were in their 20s, at least -- to avoid an applicant frittering away a couple of years trying to decide on a major.
MARY VIK, WEST ST. PAUL
High-voltage power line
Where was Xcel during Lake St. reconstruction?
Regarding Xcel's plans for a high-voltage power line on the Midtown Greenway (Star Tribune, Jan. 27), why wasn't the possibility of burying power lines considered and incorporated into the Lake Street project over the past two years?
MICHELLE SCHROEDER, MINNEAPOLIS