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The news of the college bribery scheme (front page, March 13) broke at the exact same time our eldest son sat down to take the ACT for the first time. The anxiety and excitement that followed us to this day was quickly replaced by disgust and dismay.

No doubt the stakes to get into college are higher than they have ever been; competition is fierce.

Students work very hard to get good grades and prepare for admissions tests like the ACT.

They participate in sports and extracurricular activities because they have fun and it helps make them well-rounded people.

The role of a parent in this process? Encouragement. Support. Unconditional love.

Wendy Khabie, Minneapolis
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My children did get accepted to elite colleges. They worked hard and are very smart and good people. I remember being flabbergasted when another parent asked me, "How did you get your child into MIT?" I had no response. Now I am realizing that parent may have known more than I did!

Deborah Charan, Minneapolis

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There is a scandal in college admissions because wealthy parents are paying to have their children accepted into elite schools.

This concern for an advantage in admissions is just the current problem. We can go back to Robert Lincoln, the president's son who wanted to enter the war in 1865. His dad did not want him to be just part of the ranks. Abraham Lincoln wrote a letter to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant about his concern and, as a result, Robert entered as an assistant adjutant general with the rank of captain.

One can certainly be sympathetic in this instance with the death of President Lincoln's sons Eddie in 1850 and Willie in 1862, and with so much death in the Civil War.

Norman Holen, Richfield

Do not ask this of those who weren't involved in the offense

I read with interest David Brooks' March 12 commentary "I'm persuaded now: The case for reparations." It brings to mind the 2005 movie "Kingdom of Heaven," in which Orlando Bloom (playing Balian as defender of Jerusalem), says: "We fight over an offense we did not give, against those who were not alive to be offended." No reparations.

Donald Pitsch, Eden Prairie
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How ironic. On the same opinion page (March 12): Conservative columnist David Brooks' thoughtful piece about the origins of division and inequality in our country, and conservative cartoonist Michael Ramirez's drawing implicitly and disingenuously blaming the Democratic Party for current said divisions.

Mary G. Alberts, Eden Prairie
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Sirs: Thanks for the March 12 "Opinion Exchange" — two white men reflecting on the present-day ramifications of institutional racism of the past. David Brooks had an epiphany. He eloquently proffers an action plan to undo the ongoing blight of racism. Meanwhile, John C. "Chuck" Chalberg concludes, "It's all very confusing." ("Renaming things: Do unto predecessors as you would have done unto you.") Chalberg makes his confusion apparent. He seems to compare past racist policies traceable to specific individuals whose names are engraved in buildings at the University of Minnesota to a possible future purging of current university leaders' memorials "whose administrations were ... sullied by an epidemic of rape."

There seems to be solid historical documentation that those whose names are on the buildings promoted racist policies. I think it's safe to say that none of the university's current leadership will in the future be found to have condoned campus rape — or even to have been oblivious to this terrible problem.

Perhaps Mr. Chalberg might be wise to follow the path taken by Mr. Brooks. It might clear up some of his confusion. For instance, Chalberg might consider standing outside the university buildings in question. Perhaps he might stop black students and Jewish students passing under those engraved names and ask them a simple question: "Which would you prefer — removal of the name or placing an educational plaque?" It could be quite enlightening.

Richard Masur, Minneapolis

A one-state solution, disarming and dismantling Israel, is the only choice

Former U.S. Sen. and Vice President Walter Mondale's March 13 letter ("Direct experience in Israel and Palestine is necessary") chastised U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar for being confused about Israel. Mondale claims that Israel is a "strong democracy" that deserves our respect.

In fact, Israel has a democracy limited to Jewish citizens only, not the millions of Palestinians in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. It is implementing an apartheid regime that practices ethnic cleansing in the territories, operates an open-air concentration camp in Gaza, and discriminates against non-European and African Jews. It is a militarized state just beyond the view from the playful trendy beaches of the Mediterranean.

Mondale's letter implies that Israel will come to its senses in the coming election. In the meantime, he patronizingly recommends that Rep. Omar broaden her circle of advisers and visit Israel.

The current "two-state solution" for the land of historic Palestine is no longer viable, if it ever was. It is a fool's errand, serving as camouflage for the ongoing expansion of the Israeli state and the militarization of Israeli society. It serves as justification for Israeli-imposed apartheid, the occupation of all of Palestine, and the ethnic cleansing of a "greater Israel." Many practical obstacles prevent creation of a separate Palestinian nation-state: the wall; the separate roads, water, and utility systems; the lack of viable land in Gaza and the West Bank; the theft of Palestinian lands and homes both within Israel and in the settlements; the denial of the right of return; and many others.

The only viable option now is a one-state solution: either a Zionist apartheid state based on repression and ethnic cleansing, or a democratic secular multiethnic state based on equality for all people and peace with its neighbors. It must be one or the other. Israel must be disarmed and dismantled to win lasting peace.

John Gehan, St. Paul

The writer reports that he recently returned from Palestine.


Nonusers especially need protection — from the users

A March 13 letter writer, an emergency-room physician, provided sage advice to prevent electric scooter riders from injury ("There's danger — be responsible"). How about some injury prevention tips for the pedestrians who will encounter riders who fail to heed the doctor's advice?

Michael D. Pyrski, Brooklyn Park