Urgency about teaching reading is good. We also need to be urgent about math – Twin Cities

Second Amendment


Math, too

Literacy is getting a lot of attention at the State Capitol and rightfully so. Reading proficiency has been in decline for a decade and the pandemic only made matters worse. The Minnesota House and Senate education finance bills dedicate millions to improve reading instruction. These are worthy investments that I applaud.

I would ask our state lawmakers to apply that same level of urgency to helping students who are struggling with mathematics. During the pandemic, math scores fell further than reading scores. And sadly, those impacts fell disproportionately on our low income students and widened gaps between our white students and students of color and American Indian students.

Minnesota has a proven program that is already working in our schools. Minnesota Math Corps is serving thousands of students statewide and is helping accelerate math growth for K-8 students below grade level. The relationships the Math Corps tutors make with students and the individualized supports they offer complement the learning taking place in classrooms. Teachers greatly appreciate the additional tutoring offered by Math Corps.

As a former Math Corps tutor, I saw the power of this program first hand. I served in two different public schools in the city of St. Paul over three years, helping students achieve success in math. It inspired me to pursue a career in education, and I continue to assist students who are struggling in math. I see every day how much our kids need support to be successful in mathematics.

I ask our lawmakers to make Math Corps available to more students by increasing the state’s investment. Our schools and students need these supports more than ever.

Katie Connolly, Mahtomedi

 

More informed voters

Legislators continue to find ways to increase voter turnout — as if more voters will produce better elections. But what is really needed are more informed voters, which could mean fewer voters.

Dave Racer, Woodbury

 

Short memories

Much has been said and written about a roughly $17 billion surplus; mostly about how to spend it. Following the news, it appears likely not a dollar will remain.

There must be somebody in the Legislature who remembers shortfalls instead of surplus. The 2010-11 biennium had a shortfall of $4.6 billion (Pioneer Press, March 27, 2009). Seems a prudent idea to maybe save for a “rainy” day? Now is a good time to have that conversation again.

Dave Hammer, St. Paul

 

One problem solves another?

Let’s connect the dots between two ubiquitous urban St. Paul complaints: dangerous speeders, and deep potholes. The latter control the former. No need for expensive enforcement or repaving. If speeders fear thousand-dollar suspension repairs maybe they’ll go elsewhere. If potholes persist, maybe people will drive less and walk more. If St. Paul has no tax base for enforcement or to rebuild its streets, maybe we should just let one problem solve another.

Mathews Hollinshead, St. Paul

 

Before new taxes

Isn’t enacting new taxes while disbursing tax rebates like taking money out of your right pocket and putting it in your left pocket? How about using the tax surplus to pay for justifiable expenses before enacting any new taxes?

David Hobbs, Newport

 

‘Compel’ means ‘force’

Regarding the reprinted editorial from the New York Daily News: “A terrible Texas bill curbs college faculty from teaching about real ideas” (April 20): The editorial takes issue with the fact that this bill prohibits a faculty member of an institution of higher learning from compelling or attempting to compel a student to adopt a belief that any race, sex, religion, political belief, etc. is inherently superior to any other and gives, as an example, the idea that an economics professor would be hamstrung in extolling the virtues of, say capitalism, over communism.

Nonsense. The critical word here is “compel.”  “Compel” means to force. Discussing the pluses and minuses of a belief is not  “compelling” a student to adopt the belief.

“Compelling” should have no place in colleges, institutions which exist in part to foster the free flow of ideas. That Texas bill is spot on.

Sandy Beitsch, St. Paul

 

Am I next?

Am I next? The new soul-searing mantra of America. More and more of us are asking if there is any place, public or private, that is safe anymore.

How did we get to this place and who got us here? For one, overly-zealous mis-interpreters of the Second Amendment. For another, a gun industry happy to rake in billions off the fear they helped create. For a third, legislators, state and federal, who depend on that fear and the financial war-chest of the National Rifle Association.

Band-aids like red flag laws, gun-lock boxes, more effective background checks are all good and necessary. But hardly the hard-truth adequate to confront and reverse a gun culture that has high-jacked every citizen’s right to feel safe.

I look for the day when the Second Amendment will be re-cast to reflect 21st not 18th century’s weaponry. Also, I trust that someday soon a class-action suit will bring the gun culture to its knees as happened to tobacco before and is happening now to e-vape. We have a public health crisis on our hands. Its causes are obvious as are its remedies.

For the safety of all Americans, restore the federal ban on military -style weaponry. And, legislators of America, go a second essential step and buy them back, get them off our streets and out of our homes. Nothing less makes sense if our gun laws are truly to be sensible. No age is the right age to possess our military’s arsenal.

John Forliti, St. Paul

 

 



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