Readers write: Trade in TPP, changing schools, true neighbor

Letters to the editor for the Oct. 31, 2016 weekly magazine.

Alfredo Sosa/Staff
Student Manny Aponte works with teacher Holly Knowles on some math problems in his 6th grade class at Gilbert Stuart Middle School on June 2, 2016 in Providence, R.I.

Trade in TPP

I read with interest the Aug. 8 cover story, “The truth about US manufacturing.” It was good to know that Shelby, N.C., which had lost so many jobs as a result of the North American Free Trade Agreement, now has foreign companies investing in the area.

However, I disagree with calling the Trans-Pacific Partnership a free trade agreement. There is very little about trade in the pact. It is mostly a tool for multinational corporations to disregard the laws of their host countries. Any law or regulation that interferes with their profit can be disregarded. It also provides for a secret tribunal for companies to take their host country to court, with the probability they would win huge settlements. Corporate lawyers will be the judges, there is no right of appeal, and countries will not get access to the tribunal. The average US worker will be greatly harmed by the TPP.

Donna Mummery

Whanganui, New Zealand

Changing schools

Regarding the Sept. 19 Focus article, “Fighting truancy: one caring person”: The piece admirably gives a snapshot of the student truancy crisis in the United States. I would respectfully urge educators at all levels to tackle a question that’s never been asked in American education: What would school have to be like for every student to want to be there? Finding answers could radically change the way schools operate and make them places where all children would want to be.

Lawrence B. Schlack

Kalamazoo, Mich.

True neighbor

Thank you for the inspiring Aug. 8 People Making a Difference article about Hannah Schwartz. Ms. Schwartz is an example of caring and neighborliness. It was heartwarming and refreshing to read of the care being given to the individuals and families at Heartbeet Lifesharing. It’s something that money can’t buy.

Robin Pryor Blake

Davis, Calif.

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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.”

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