Each week we post a run-down of the best of our reader comments with the hopes of highlighting some of your most valuable insights and encouraging more people to join the fray. Let us know what you think—in the comments!

SGillhoolley: There are legitimate reasons to lay off employees and there are lazy ways to improve the bottom line. They should be judged accordingly, and treated differently. If Bain Capital were laying off workers because there were too many for the demand that the company had, and expected to have for the foreseeable future, then it was legitimate. If workers were laid off to reduce costs, and this was the first solution to the cost problem, then it was laziness, and should be criticized.

Bain Capital, from what I have heard and read, added nothing to the economy. They did not go in to help a company restructure itself. They went in, sold off all the profitable groups and assets, and then dumped the corpse in the pile with all the others. This is one of the ways in which wealth is being siphoned from the United States. The USA has lost, quite literally, trillions of dollars in wealth over the past few decades.
In response to Ben Adler’s “Fair and Unfair Attacks on Romney’s Record at Bain.” January 13, 2012.

mikeradow: So-called "good" teachers would absolutely love the chance to be mentors, even without extra pay. The coaching model will produce better teachers than any number of professional development courses by outside consultants. But it doesn’t happen because taking these teachers out of the classroom is seen as hurting students, or because administrators don’t want to give up control of their so-called expertise, or because it takes more money. All the merit pay schemes are hobbled by this absence of money and by the fuzzy science of determining merit. I may be the world’s greatest teacher for some students and possibly the worst for others. Show me a way to really judge who is better at the things that matter (NOT test scores) and perhaps then we can start the conversation.
In response to Dana Goldstein’s “Teachers Matter. Now What?” January 15, 2012.

allsiegel: Thanks, Dana, for putting this in perspective. You ask a great question: "Why not use value-added to help identify the most effective teachers, but then require these professionals to mentor their peers in order to earn higher pay?" Another question I would add is "why, if mentoring has been shown to be so effective, has it been eliminated in so many districts and totally shut out of the "reforminess" discussion?” I fear the answer: mentoring bonds teachers.

Follow the money. The "reform movement" has less interest in improving pay for great teachers and more interest in reducing costs. Bloomberg showed his real motives when he suggested that half of the teaching staff should be fired and class sizes doubled. It is not in the interest of those seeking to eliminate the power of teachers and teachers union to have teachers mentor teachers. Why is it that so often the best teachers oppose merit pay and "value-added" ratings? Because most great teachers work collaboratively—not competitively.
In response to Dana Goldstein’s “Teachers Matter. Now What?” January 15, 2012.

kbrown2225: It amazes me how the right portrays pointing out racism as playing the "race card." If you are being racist and someone calls you on it, it’s not "playing the race care." It is pointing out reality.
In response to Ari Berman’s “The GOP’s Race Problem.” January 17, 2012.

ruffsoft: Reading Greider’s article about Perry and Gingrich sounding like leftwing critics of capitalism when they attacked Romney, it struck me how true it is that the OWS movement, now receding from the headlines, changed the national dialogue from debt and spending to inequality and economic justice. Republicans will not admit this, but in fact, if there had been no successful OWS reframing of the debate, Republicans like Perry, Gingrich, and others would never have taken up the attack on predatory capitalism.

It seems clear that the OWS has affected not only a revitalized left, but also a long-dead progressive impulse in many Republicans. Either that or they are cynically exploiting today’s public disapproval of vulture capitalism for their own personal benefit. In either case, it reveals a recognition that the case against capitalism, it its most mercenary forms at least, is a popular subject and can be used to appeal even to conservatives. Thank you OWS for making a surprising difference and changing the entire political discourse in a matter of months, from the ground up.
In response to William Greider’s “Why Are Republicans Attacking ‘Vulture Capitalism?’” January 18, 2012.

HighPlainsDrifter: Considering how ridiculously inefficient the tar sands are as a source of oil, any kind of obstruction in developing them further is basically good for everyone, whether they know it or not. It’s funny how the people who will be affected most severely, those in Alberta, are the most supportive of the industry. I wonder who will be blamed in a few decades when the bitumen processing becomes too expensive to be feasible and the Athabasca basin is left as a ravaged moonscape dotted by pools of poisonous tailings ponds.

I digress. The fact is, even if Keystone fails, there’s enough money in the tar sands that something else will eventually go through. But it’s good to see people making it difficult for development to continue, because without that there would be even more rapid destruction, with longer consequences.
In response to George Zornick’s “Keystone XL is Dead—Again.” January 18, 2012.