Readers write: Important principles in education; How art divides us; Fairness and taxes

Letters to the editor for the April 25, 2016-May 2, 2016 weekly magazine.

Ann Hermes
Scott Gordon, CEO of Mastery Charter Schools, talks to students during a classroom tour at Frederick Douglass Middle School, which the charter operator took over in 2015..

Important principles in education

The March 28 cover story, “Education’s Mr. Fix-it?,” provides important food for thought. There are some basic principles, however, that should be kept in mind. Our society simply will not pay salaries to teachers that can compete with those of most high-level professions – we need to be extremely grateful for and respect the significant numbers of outstanding individuals who find much of their reward through enlightening young minds. Perhaps some unions have gone a bit too far, but we can find the proper balance. Secondly, public education must remain truly “public.” Education and health care are not discretionary purchases. They must be universally available in order to keep a strong society and economy.

Dr. Allan Hauer

Corrales, New Mexico

How art divides us

The March 21 Monitor’s View “From Timbuktu, an art crime provides a timeless lesson” describes a group charged with war crimes for the destruction of cultural monuments that they claimed were contrary to their theology. Just a few pages earlier, a different article (“On campus, a new civil rights era rises”) began with describing a university that removed a stained-glass window of a historical figure from a building because of students’ moral objections to the scene being depicted. How do we decide where to draw the line that makes these two events so different – one a moral victory and the other a crime?

Elaine Reynolds

Findlay, Ohio

Fairness and taxes

Regarding the April 11 Upfront column, “Simple good, fair better”: In baseball, whether a ball is fair or foul depends not on any intrinsic property of where the ball lands, but on rules agreed to by all players. In politics, nothing is agreed to by all. In taxation, as in all political realms, fairness lies at the very root of complexity. Fairness and simplicity cannot coexist.

Eric Klieber

Cleveland Heights, Ohio

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to