Author: Rice County Republicans

“A Freedom of Choice in Education” by Deb Kaczmarek

I became a non-believer in January 1992. I was teaching in a school district that “balanced” the schedules of teachers of “gifted/talented” students by assigning each a section of non-college-bound seniors. It was the tried-and-true way to cover classes that nobody wanted to teach. From day one, my seniors made clear that they didn’t want to be in class. I shared that sentiment. The course had clearly been designed to ask so little of students that they could not fail to graduate. It inspired nobody. Fortunately, I saw in those reluctant students glimpses of my dad, a brilliant drop-out. I unilaterally jettisoned the approved curriculum, substituting materials and strategies I used with my advanced classes. Doing so violated district policy and put my job in jeopardy. It was the most successful teaching of my career, but there were failures, too. It was those kids I couldn’t reach—that the education system had never reached—who caused me to recant my union’s doctrine of one-size-fits-all education. I swore a new allegiance—to freedom of choice in education. Nearly 30 years after my break with education orthodoxy, we find ourselves in a declared pandemic that challenges the modern creed for correct living. Suddenly, we’re re-examining the dogmas of ever-denser housing, ever-more-mass transit, ever-larger sporting and entertainment venues, ever-more-mega malls, churches, hospitals and school districts. Suddenly, truck drivers are recognized in the pantheon of “essential...

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“We need to talk about a path forward” by Kathy Dodds

To the editor: These days it seems that everyone is talking about the COVID-19 pandemic. There has been little else in the news. For good reason; we are up against a new disease that crawled out of the proverbial jungles of China. The economic hardships resulting from our government’s decision to shutter our public habits is a plight of its own. As we discuss how to fight the disease, we should also be discussing another topic: the reopening of our economy. Not everyone wants to have this conversation, but it is a necessary one. Some of our bolder elected leaders, like U.S. Rep. Jim Hagedorn, have been willing to have this conversation. One example of a company doing the same thing is SageGlass. SageGlass, based in our very own Faribault, is a crucial manufacturer of electrochromic glass, which is essential for modern construction practices. They have been shut down since March 16 but plan to re-open soon with beefed-up sterilization and sanitation practices, and a strict social distancing guideline. This approach seems sensible. Hagedorn and others are right, we need to implement responsible ways to unleash the workforce and restart our economy. The current path, which in Minnesota appears to be based on inaccurate modeling and overly pessimistic assumptions, is completely unsustainable. Thanks to SageGlass for helping lead the way to return to the normalcy we so desperately need....

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“Coronavirus exposes pharmaceutical supply chain holes” by Janalee Cooper

Almost overnight, the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed long-standing supply chain issues that imperil the critical health-care infrastructure of the United States. First and foremost should be attention to the role China now plays in producing pharmaceuticals and medical supplies for the USA. A Communist Chinese government agency stated recently that Beijing could “announce strategic control over medical products and ban exports to the United States. Then, the United States will be caught in the ocean of viruses.” China has achieved dominance in these vital areas in one short generation, by implementing policies of sweatshop labor, lax regulatory oversight, and massive government subsidies. According to Rosemary Gibson, author of China Rx: Exposing the Risks of American’s Dependence on China for Medicine, “ [M]illions of Americans are taking prescription drugs made in China and don’t know it and neither do their doctors.” Chinese production of common medications is upward of 90% of ibuprofen to 45% of penicillin consumed by Americans. The flip side of the Chinese dilemma is the reliance on protective medical gear for our health care personnel. We’re seeing daily in the media that Minnesota and other states have been facing shortages of essential protective gear for medical personnel battling the COVID-19 virus. The status quo— inventory models with worldwide supply connections—can not respond as quickly as this pandemic demands. Thankfully, American industry is retooling and stepping up to...

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“The kind of bullying that silences elected officials and their constituents” by Debra Kaczmarek

To the editor: Having been a parent of teens during the blue-dress-and-cigar era, I have empathy for the man who disrupted the recent town hall held by Congressman Hagedorn. The heckler specifically — and endlessly — shouted questions about how President Trump could be held up as a model for “our children.” It’s a question that brings back not only the blush-inducing misdeeds of President Clinton but also the unease I experienced when my children reminded me that President Obama had enthusiastically “inhaled.” It dredges up the trauma of learning of the X-rated White House escapades of President Kennedy, my childhood hero, whose photo was taped to the wall above my nightstand. Clearly, the town hall disrupter and I have in common our deep dismay at the passing of the age of the virtuous statesman. We part company, however, in our strategy for responding to the disappointing personal behavior of our political leaders. It makes no sense to me to protest the sins of others by engaging in deplorable public conduct yourself. I abhor abusive and exploitative sexual behavior by powerful men and women, and I’m no fan of coarse language. But those bipartisan transgressions are certainly no more destructive than the kind of bullying that silences our elected officials and their constituents. Debra L. Kaczmarek Northfield Originally published in the Faribault Daily News March...

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Freedom vs. “Free Stuff” by Janalee Cooper

One of the newer demographic shifts we are seeing in American society is the Millennial Generation’s deep-seated desire to be “Master’s of their Own Fate”, and the “Captain’s of their Own Soul”. According to a report by The Center for Generational Kinetics, this generation has far more hunger for the entrepreneurial lifestyle than the Baby Boom generation had. The Millennial generation embraces the idea of enhancing personal freedom while building their life/work/careers. At this juncture, the high costs of education and health care are emerging as economic barriers to the pursuit of “personal freedom”. The rhetoric of “free” health care and college by some of the American leadership has heightened interest in having the government pay for these items in our lives. A very loud stratum of American leadership is trying to convince voters that they can have both personal freedom and Big Government management in our lives. Their mantra seems to be “Give me your rights and I will take care of your responsibilities”. It a siren song that has been repudiated time after time throughout history-recently in the Soviet bloc and Cuba, and this very day in Socialist Venezuela.  Supporting this socialistic idealogy, the Democratic Presidential debates are touting ideas like Andrew Yang’s “Freedom Dividend” and the Basic Income Guarantee. The only guarantee is that this “free money” only becomes available by taking it through force of taxation from those who created the wealth with the...

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