Good for Facebook's Oversight Board for upholding the Donald Trump ban ("Facebook board opts to keep Trump off network," May 6). The board is also right to suggest that Facebook must decide his future on a more permanent basis. The metric here should be quite obvious: Put the onus of the return to Facebook on Donald Trump.
Ban him until and unless he wholeheartedly acknowledges that Joe Biden is the duly elected president of the United States and that Trump's assertion of massive election fraud is truly a big lie. Make it clear that these are the terms of conditionally lifting the ban, and that if he in any way uses the platform or any other medium to reassert the big lie, he will be permanently banned.
Robert Speeter, Minneapolis
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Facebook's extension of Trump's ban is imprudent even though he has shown himself to be a chronic and unabashed liar.
Although Facebook is a private entity not subject to constitutional restraints, the courts generally have held that lying may be legally permissible in many circumstances, and prior restraint of expression is anathema to a free society. As long as he does not engage in unlawful incitement, which may be a tall order, the ex-president should be allowed to speak his mind and express his opinions on this important forum. Forbidding him from using the medium also fuels the "cancel culture" complaints that spur many of his supporters.
As Abraham Lincoln, one of the founders of Trump's Republican Party, supposedly pointed out: "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt."
Marshall H. Tanick, Minneapolis
The writer is a constitutional law attorney.
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Fine. Let Facebook reinstate the former president's account. But then, please, please, newspapers and television stations, do not reprint or rebroadcast every single posting he makes as headlines or lead stories! Most people in this country do not care.
Keith Reed, Rosemount
Less red tape begets more teachers
I strongly agree with Paula Cole's position in her commentary "Don't expel talented teachers" (Opinion Exchange, May 4) and feel this level of government oversight is typical of today's political bureaucracy that defers to more regulation as a one-size-fits-all solution. I consider myself a moderate liberal, so this is not an anti-government rant; rather, it's me sharing my own experience.
I have had a successful business career marked by my ability to connect with people. That skill is one I rely on often. I pride myself on past mentorship of young businesspeople by helping them develop their careers through the lens of my experiences.
My post-retirement plan was to carry that forward by teaching math and/or science in middle school when minds are developing and when good teachers can spur interest manifesting itself in a child's pursuit of his/her newfound passion. Sadly, the process to achieve that goal was onerous, requiring me to spend inordinate time in training. That felt unnecessary vs. getting in the classroom where my impact could be felt. I chose not to make that investment and sadly will likely never see the inside of a classroom. My decision haunts me still as I remember the teachers who shaped my thinking and pursuits. I believed I could be that person for our kids.
I say let the free market decide if a teacher is successful by their impact on the students, not by what degree they have or what classes they've taken. One's experience, passion and ability to paint a picture for a kid is a far better metric for deciding who has the honor helping hone today's children. Don't let bureaucratic tendencies make school a dreaded start to our kids' days!
Jeff Holker, Excelsior
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Thank you for the excellent commentary on spelling. ("How do you spell 'gratitude'?" Opinion Exchange, May 4.) Reading it brought back a few memories, and in my line of work, spelling is critically important. In grade school, misspelled words on the weekly spelling test had to be written 100 times. This provided great motivation to achieve 100% on the spelling tests. Fortunately, my mom was a good and patient speller and would grill me on the spelling list throughout the week. Thanks, Mom.
At the University of Minnesota, as my instructor was explaining the first paper we had to write for freshman composition, one of my classmates raised his hand and asked if spelling counts. She steadied her gaze on him and waited a moment before providing this now famous response: "Spelling always counts."
Tom Brandes, Plymouth
Wording can only change so much
I'm against the constitutional amendment proposed by Alan Page and Neel Kashkari ("Journey toward equity must begin at school," Opinion Exchange, May 4).
The authors are concerned about disparities between the academic outcomes of students of different races. Academic outcomes depend to some degree on teaching quality but mostly on the students themselves. The main factors are ability and effort.
Making the schools responsible for student academic performance is making them responsible for something that they have inputs to but cannot completely control. It would lead to school districts spending a lot of money trying to change things that cannot be changed. For example, if a school has a high percentage of recent immigrants who are just learning English, their results are not likely to be as good on average as those of white students who have, mostly, grown up in the U.S. using English as their language. And this is only one of many factors that cannot be controlled.
Schools that have a high percentage of students from high-income households will perform better than schools with a high percentage of students from low-income households for a variety of reasons that are outside the school's control.
Minnesota has high-quality schools. We rank toward the top in the U.S. in high school graduation rates. It is ridiculous to try to make it sound like our schools are low quality because there are differences in educational outcomes between races. We should continue to strive to provide high-quality schools, but a constitutional amendment would make schools responsible for things they cannot control and result in excessive spending.
James Brandt, New Brighton
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Page and Kashkari are correct about the overall ultimate priority of the role of education in an effective, long-range march to achieving equity. However, it is myopic to imply that schools can do it alone.
They hypothesize that a simple modification to state constitutional semantics ("quality" in for "adequate" education) can ignite needed systemic changes in our comprehensive schools, which can then function as the core to the achievement/maintenance of equity. That's a huge leap.
Who can be against improvement? If the proposed constitutional change will help our schools, let's get on with it. But we can't buy into the proposition that schools alone should be accountable for fixing Humpty Dumpty.
Skip North, Edina
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I have followed the careers of Page and Kashkari for many years and have the utmost respect for them. Furthermore, simply because it is their idea, I support a constitutional amendment to reduce racial disparities in education. However, their proposal would be far more persuasive if they would indicate just how changing words will reduce these disparities. Some folks think that I am reasonably intelligent, yet I cannot fathom how amending the Constitution will automatically improve our educational system. Please tell us.
Lucyan Mech, Lauderdale
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