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Letters: Inject more civics into schooling while we still can

3January 2021

Last Sunday’s article, “Social studies change coming,” created a conundrum for me.

I am a former social studies teacher who also had the great opportunity of teaching an evening history class in Yonkers, N.Y., for individuals studying to take the U.S. Citizenship Test. Back at that time we looked at the United States as the Great Melting Pot. Today, due to the awareness of the diversity of our country, we look at ourselves more as a “Salad Bowl.”

My concern while reading the article is, I believe although our programs need to reflect our diversity, I also sadly believe these past few years have illustrated the entire lack of understanding of our form of government by many.

Case in point: How we have allowed certain segments of our population to attack such basic principles as freedom of assembly, the need for free press, the respect and understanding of the three branches of our federal government and common civility? That we are a government for the people by the people, not a government of the few.

These and many more are the principles that many before us have given their lives so we can live ours.

So perhaps the committee tasked with revising Minnesota’s social studies standards should consider injecting a stronger “civics” approach to the state’s curriculum while we still consider ourselves a democracy.

Joel Knoepfler, West St. Paul

 

Keeping the peace

There were over 400 car jackings in Minneapolis this year. Most of these were committed by youths with guns. Our leaders tell us that these crimes are understandable because their brains are not fully developed.

What will happen when schools are reopened without any resource officers to attempt to keep the peace?

G. Mertz, St. Paul

 

We need Snow Buddies

My son volunteers with the Snow Buddy program in Alexandria, Va.  A volunteer program here similar to this would be a life saver for many people.

With the recent increases in my property taxes I have less income available to hire assistance, and my health continues to decline. The last two times I shoveled it took me weeks to recover. I have come to the conclusion I just must not shovel in the future.

I am in a bind. I have to believe I am not the only person who is disabled and/or a senior who needs help with snow removal.

With a program like “Snow Buddies,” St. Paul would be a better place for the volunteer, the people out walking and the person who wants to stay in their home.

Mary C. Zanmiller, St. Paul

 

Tradition proves insufficient in transition

One thing we should certainly thank President Trump for is a fresh look at some of the procedures of government.

It is now apparent that a number of routines that we have all taken for granted are not rooted in good law. They are tradition, tradition that has worked pretty until now.

Many of the processes connected to the transfer of power from one administration to the following one appear to be uncertain, having no specified dates or routines. In the area of national security, in particular, missteps in the sharing of information, for example may put us in serious peril from overseas enemies.

I hope our senators and representatives will turn their attention immediately in the new Congress to the formation of new laws aimed at regularizing procedures and sharing of vital information among incoming and outgoing administrations.

Carl Brookins, Roseville

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