If Stephen B. Young’s account, in “Lincoln put blame on none, burden on all” (Opinion Exchange, April 20), represents the Caux Round Table’s “business leaders working to promote a moral capitalism,” their understanding of morality is a threat to consumers, citizens and, ultimately, to investors.
Young showed no understanding of the intergenerational impact of deep poverty, of legal and political decisions designed to limit access to power (including the right to vote), of the limitations imposed on low- and moderate-income people by executive decisions ensuring extreme incomes to corporate power brokers, and of historic as well as continuing prejudice and discrimination based on race, social or economic class, or immigration status.
He also misrepresented Lincoln’s morality, which was grounded more in a political commitment to restoring nationhood than in Christian humility.
The “moral capitalism” Young advocates aims to assure that the rich keep getting richer — some of that at the expense of moderate investors. Even being charitable to the business leaders he represents, they deserve incomes, at most, of less than six digits (whereas many or most are likely in the seven-digit range) — and absolutely no influence on shaping “moral capitalism.”
Louis Stanley Schoen, St. Louis Park
As some exit this area, others are coming, or want to, no?
I have a solution to the demographic problems associated with the aging populations of developed countries and for Minnesota’s employment crisis due to the exit of its young people (“Minnesota youth exodus spells job crisis ahead,” April 19): Welcome educated immigrants and invest in the education of the ones already here.
April Spas, Minneapolis
• • •
Journalism increasingly conflates Minnesota and the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area. This bad habit renders the April 19 article about demographic trends almost meaningless. Depopulation in most regions of the state has been underway for decades. That’s not news. Is the Star Tribune saying it’s now true also of the metro area?
Curtis Johnson, Edina
Nothing wrong with metro money funding metro needs and projects
Ahh, Greater Minnesota — evidently the metro area is Lesser Minnesota. And once again, the Star Tribune Editorial Board (“Fund transportation for state’s long haul,” April 19) suggests using funding raised principally in the metro area to fund projects in outstate Minnesota (my term for “Greater Minnesota”). This on top of the earlier proposed funding for broadband in outstate Minnesota (“Broadband grants are an odd target for cuts,” April 16).
Having spent most of my life in Minnesota, I have always wondered why those who have chosen to live in rural areas and avoid the hassles attendant to living in the metro area feel that the metro area should subsidize their decision? As I recall, in an earlier era this was termed the “Robin Hood” syndrome.
Loren Berg, Rio Verde, Ariz.
What’s the main issue? Central
planning? Historical segregation?
For years, the creativity and spontaneity of Minneapolis teachers has been undermined by an administration that claimed to have all of the answers. Ted Koldereie’s wise and thoughtful words (“The city schools’ central problem,” April 19) reinforce that. Teachers must be given the freedom to improve learning according to the “needs, aptitudes and interests of their students” and “personalize learning” to motivate students.
Giving teachers the “authority over what matters for learning” can begin anew the energizing of students and teachers. Individual schools and staffs must be able to make the educational decisions that address the student population at each school. Having a one-size-fits-all vision is unreasonable and insensitive. The demoralization of the Minneapolis School District needs to be stopped, and Kolderie presents a solid case for the redirection.
Susan Nudell Kalin, Minneapolis
• • •
Kolderie falls short with his theory of large urban districts’ failing. Rather than bantering about whom should be in charge, how much money schools should be allotted or what the curriculum should be, we need to look deeper into societal issues that have been created by our government through redlining and residential segregation.
Thanks to the Fair Housing Act in the 1930s and ’40s, many black residents were denied access to affordable home loans as well as access to particular neighborhoods, which led to racially and economically segregated neighborhoods. Segregated neighborhoods lead to segregated schools, racially and economically.
Findings put out in a report by the University of Minnesota law school in 2014 titled “Reforming Subsidized Housing Policy in the Twin Cities to Cut Costs and Reduce Segregation” stated that “[h]ighly segregated schools are also nearly always high-poverty schools, and school poverty is [a] powerful predictor of student performance.” Richard Rothstein in his March 2015 Educational Leadership article “The Story Behind Ferguson” reminds readers that “few children can succeed in a highly segregated and impoverished community … no matter how good the schools, no matter how well-trained the teachers, no matter how well-designed the standards and curriculum.”
I look forward to the day when the conversation can focus on confronting deeper systemic issues.
Mary Lillestol, Minneapolis
Newspaper singles it out, unfairly, in coverage of lobbying
Once again, the Star Tribune has written a story about the clout of Education Minnesota (“Teachers flex clout in battles at Capitol,” April 19). The story emphasized the amount that the union spent on lobbyists and gave through political action committee (PAC) donations. Republicans are quoted saying it is one of the most powerful special-interest groups at the State Capitol.
Look at the numbers. Education Minnesota ranked 14th in 2014 lobbyist expenditures. The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce outspent it by $1.8 million; the Minnesota Business Network, by more than $500,000. The average member of Education Minnesota contributed $42 to its PAC (some contributed more and some less), while William Austin of Texas contributed $328,300 to Minnesota candidates in 2014. Might we not wish to know more about this William Austin, and about what he wants from Minnesota politicians for Texas?
Where are the stories about this individual power? How about the $2.2 million spent by American Crystal Sugar in PAC contributions — what did it want and get for that influence? (As an industry, crop production spent $3.8 million on PAC contributions.) Where is the story about the $2.2 million spent on lobbyists by the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce?
It just seems like when a group of common people work together, they get singled out in stories about how their clout. When big business throws money around, it is not viewed in the same way.
Marc Doepner-Hove, Mound