Open Forum for week of June 27

EDITOR’S NOTE: Letters will be accepted for the Open Forum for publication in the next available issue after receipt. Letters may be sent to Forest Lake Times, 880 SW 15th St., Forest Lake, or by e-mail to [email protected] Letters should not exceed 250 words and must be signed with the writer’s name, address and telephone number. Deadline is noon Monday. The newspaper reserves the right to edit letters and assure that rules of libel and good taste are not violated.


‘Ideally’ Doesn’t Cut It

The recent editorial on the importance of more third-graders reading at a third-grade level quickly brought a critical letter.  The writer commented that “…ECM actually advocates that others do the job that parents refuse to do.”

The writer’s suggestion is that parents who have not been reading to their young children need to start doing so. Of course I agree, but a simple scolding seems unlikely to change the behavior of the parents in question.

Allow me to make a politically incorrect point: If these parents were going to invest more time and energy in their child’s education they probably would have already done so. But they have not, and probably will not, and it’s the child who bears the consequences described in the editorial. What to do then? Find help for the child outside the home?

Apparently not. The writer opposes the “…continued subrogation of children to public schools, volunteer groups, and non-profits,” or spending more money on this problem (somehow it’s always about the Benjamins). Subrogation? Yikes! The editorial was was an argument for helping children who need help, not a political manifesto.

Let me see if I can summarize this educational version of survival of the fittest: These children will struggle and perhaps fail without additional help but public schools and the community are to “stand down” because helping a child is the parent’s responsibility and if they won’t that’s too bad for the child.

Do I have that right?

Michael Harwell
Forest Lake


Schools Need Support

Thank you to the Legislature and Governor Dayton for their good works for schools like North Branch and other area schools.

North Branch Schools Finance Director Randi Johnson said this is the best economic news she’s seen in her 30-year career, and I must agree. There is a potential for three million additional dollars for North Branch Schools over the next two years. Our children are so deserving of elected officials that say “yes” to education.

I have listened to Senator Sean Nienow and Representative Bob Barrett speak of their commitment to children and schools; imagine my surprise that their votes were not for our children, but for their personal agendas. Sen. Nienow’s record shows a disdain for public education. While Rep. Barrett voted for the education bill, in perhaps one of the biggest cop-outs in the entire legislature he voted “no” to the tax bill that would have funded it.

I was also surprised that Rep. Brian Johnson and Rep. Bob Dettmer both voted “no” on the bills.

Our local legislators have let us down. I look forward to hearing each of them explain their votes.

In the words of Tom Brokaw, “There is a place in America to take a stand: it is public education. It is the underpinning of our cultural and political system. It is the great common ground.”

It is time we look to leaders who will serve our families. Perhaps it is time to elect leaders that say “yes” to our children and schools.

Kirsten Hagen Kennedy
North Branch