Thank you to former Associate Superintendent/interim Superintendent Mitchell David Trockman for pointing out what should be incredibly obvious to the Minneapolis school board: If you want to address the district's declining enrollment, you need to ask Minneapolis families why they are either leaving or not choosing to attend Minneapolis Public Schools at all ("Don't accept declining student enrollment so easily, Minneapolis," Readers Write, May 19). I guarantee they will tell you. Then — and this is key — you need to actually listen and make decisions based on this collected information.
I'm tired of hearing about MPS' declining enrollment as if it's an inevitability. It's doesn't have to be. Superintendent Trockman, would you like to reapply for your old job? We need you.
Anne Nervig, Minneapolis
The writer is a Minneapolis Public Schools parent and a St. Paul Public Schools teacher.
Basic rights can't be up to states
Monday's commentary in support of overturning Roe v. Wade just because it's what the Founding Fathers would want us to do reveals historical ignorance ("Ruling would merely re-empower the people," Opinion Exchange). The author says the country was founded on the idea that individual states could settle statutory issues themselves without interference from the federal government or other states. True. We started out that way. But then we recognized it was a mistake that needed fixing.
I'm referring to slavery, of course. It took a civil war and Abraham Lincoln to correct the course the Founding Fathers had set for us by not only eliminating slavery but by redefining our national purpose. After the war ended and we started to live that purpose, the expression we used to define ourselves — "the United States is" — replaced the old one of "the United States are."
It was appropriate the author cited the preferences of certain southern states to ban abortions. These were some of the same states that would have continued the practice of slavery had they been allowed to. Permission to practice slavery and allow its reach to extend into free states had been granted by the colossal Supreme Court mistake of the Dred Scott decision. So not for a minute should we think that states banning abortions will not seek to extend the ban into states that choose to permit them or try to stop their citizens from traveling to states where they are legal.
The Supreme Court has made mistakes in the past trying to give individual states rights they sought for themselves. We should learn from those mistakes.
Ted Field, Mahtomedi
There is a larger context on abortion: Can we use violence to effectively solve any of our problems? What are the consequences of doing so?
Mark Jacobson, Richville
A May 18 letter stated: "Sexual education from adolescence through the end of the fertility period needs to place more emphasis on control." Another writer stated, "Men who may come to the question [of abortion] from a perfectly legitimate moral, ethical or religious perspective also are entitled to express that opinion." Couldn't agree more, but what needs to be added to the discussion is the fact that adultery, child abuse, rape, divorce, violence against women and violence in media are often fueled by weekly or daily use of pornography, a multibillion-dollar industry, statistically viewed by 80% of males and dominating 35% of all internet content downloads.
I would ask these writers if they think a multibillion-dollar industry is going to dismantle itself so society could have more control, less sexual aggression, less promiscuity, less adultery, less child predators, less violence against women and less need for abortion sought in desperation. I am 80 years old and am very aware that abortion is the last choice any woman wants to make. It is always a choice made out of great conflict and lasting emotional upheaval. Men's voices are vital to this conversation, but men must take more responsibility for sexual activity and "control" of urges that fuel pornography proliferation. Until at least that elephant in the room is addressed, abortion will continue to be the undesired, egregious choice made by thousands of women. Step up, men.
Sara Meyer, Dundas, Minn.
A lethal cry for help
How refreshing it was to read such a well-reasoned, well-researched, well-presented and ... well ... just plain sensible explanation of the nonstop spate of mass shootings that has so regrettably come to be commonplace in our country. Thanks to local Profs. James Densley and Jillian Peterson for their work with the Violence Project and giving us such a cogent report ("Ideology is not what drives most mass killers," Opinion Exchange, May 17).
My takeaway is that most of these tragic events are suicidal outcries of disconnected individuals. Of these troubled souls, they write: "All we can say with some degree of certainty is that no one living a fulfilling life perpetrates a mass shooting" and that to most mass-shooters "the thought of merely taking their own lives leaves them unfulfilled."
Rob Held, St. Francis
A May 18 letter writer commenting on the mass shootings in Buffalo wrote that "the firearm is not at fault." This is a replay of the National Rifle Association's famous mantra, "Guns don't kill people ... ." While Second Amendment defenders are entitled to believe that ultimately, their freedom is inextricably bound to their possession of a firearm, the reality is that this ideology is costing countless lives. And we know the corollary to the argument that "guns are not at fault." It is: "People are at fault." One could almost profer the extreme notion that in order to allow responsible citizens to bear arms without restrictions whatsoever, other citizens — identified as potentially "dangerous" — would have to be somehow isolated from the community. Would the abstract notion of freedom as expressed in the Second Amendment have the actual impact of preventive incarceration of certain members of our communities? It's too Orwellian to imagine such.
While guns are not entirely at fault, they are significantly at fault. The tragic loss of lives in Buffalo would have never occurred if the assailant had attacked with a slingshot instead of a gun.
Richard Masur, Minneapolis
Declining a chance to do something
As a parent and grandparent, I found it interesting and very depressing that three Minnesota Congress members (Reps. Pete Stauber, Tom Emmer and Michelle Fischbach) saw fit to vote against the Infant Formula Supplemental Appropriations Act (HR 7790). This bill would provide $28 million in emergency supplemental appropriations to address the shortage of infant formula in the United States. Specifically, the bill provides appropriations for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to address the current shortage of FDA-regulated infant formula and certain medical foods in the United States and prevent future shortages, including by taking the steps that are necessary to prevent fraudulent products from entering the U.S. market.
There were, however, 12 Republicans who bucked their party leadership to support this legislation. Apparently there aren't any infants and children in Stauber's, Emmer's and Fischbach's districts who need these products.
Hope their constituents remember this in November.
Ardis Wexler, Edina
A letter to the editor May 19 described the writer's response to the current administration's lack of response to the formula shortage ("An alarmingly sluggish response").
The writer went on to say that New York Rep. Elise Stefanik had raised concern of this risk in February. Please help me understand why Rep. Stefanik (along with 191 other Republicans) voted against the measure to provide new FDA funding allowing $28 million for the baby formula shortage?
Debra Dullinger, Eagan