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Boundary Waters Area is now the land of fire and ice


There’s at least one Twitterer saying it’s snowing by the Pagami Creek Fire, which has slowed as the winds have. MPR calls the 157-square-mile fire the state’s biggest in 93 years; it will be hard to catch 1918’s 1,500-square-mile Cloquet Fire. Still, MPR metereologist Paul Huttner says the blaze will be burning for “weeks to come.” A hard frost last night helped, but rising temps this week won’t.

State math and reading scores are out, and as usual, they’re complicated. Well, the reading scores are straightforward, with proficiency “inching up” from 72 percent to 74 percent statewide, according to the Star Tribune’s Corey Mitchell and Sarah Lemagie. But there was a new, tougher math test, so proficiency slid to 56 percent from 65 percent — you can give your teacher an apple, but apples-to-apples don’t work here. MPR’s Tom Weber notes 86 percent of white third-graders met reading standards, compared with 55 percent of Hispanics and 58 percent of blacks. St. Paul and Minneapolis posted 4 percent reading improvements. Meanwhile, the state is seeking federal relief from some school sanctions that Minnesota officials say waste money. Full report here; public school math and reading results here; private schools here. Our own Beth Hawkins will walk you through it here.

With all their suburban reporters, the Strib offers a good roundup of county-by-county property-tax hikes. Simply put, there isn’t much. Hennepin, Ramsey and Scott are all up 1 to 2 percent, Dakota is flat, Carver is down 2.2 percent and Anoka fell a whopping 7.4 percent. In the latter case, it doesn’t add up to much — 24 bucks on a median $176,000 house, says the PiPress, which reports a 5.2 percent drop. Thanks to the state grabbing back $200 million in property taxes, though, a minority of area homeowners will see tax bills rise, most likely in pricier homes.

In Minneapolis, there’s been a huge fit about laid-off firefighters. Now, City Pages’ Andy Mannix reports a board-up program budgeted to gross $400,000 for the department brought in a tenth as much. The project lost $282,000, mostly on firefighter staff time that went unreimbursed by the misbegotten enterprise.

Melissa Krull, who’s caught major grief for leading Eden Prairie schools toward desegregation, accepted a $100,000 buyout to leave her job nine months early, the Strib’s Kelly Smith reports. The 51-year-old Krull is gone Sept. 30.

Minneapolis Congressman Keith Ellison and the Congressional Progressive Caucus released a jobs plan further to the left of President Obama’s. Sure, it’s unlikely to become law, but we used to say the same about Tea Party positions. Aside from, though, there’s not much local coverage, even in MSM poliblogs.

A little song, a little dance … Minnesota Independent’s Jon Collins reports Tim Pawlenty has signed up as a featured speaker on the National Review’s Caribbean conserva-cruise. You can tell T-Paw has a high regard for his humor, but I still expect the Star Tribune’s James Lileks, a regular attendee who’s funnier, to steal the show.

Nort spews: The Twins released their 2012 schedule, which includes Target Field dates with the Cubs and Phillies. They open on the road at Baltimore, and the home opener is April 9 versus the Angels. Joe Mauer makes his debut June 1 at Cleveland (just kidding … hopefully). Via WCCO’s Sarah Boyd, Metrodome fans will get new vittles for the coming Vikings home season. Norseman Nachos? In a classy gesture, the Twins bought 500 upper-level Lynx playoff tickets and will give them away, WCCO reports. For those who need to get up to speed, good Lynx history here.

Glean creator David Brauer returns to fill in for vacationing Brian Lambert.

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Comments (8)

  1. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 09/14/2011 - 02:52 pm.

    “But there was a new, tougher math test, so proficiency slid to 56 percent from 65 percent.”

    “You can give your teacher an apple, but apples-to-apples don’t work here”

    Giving your teacher an apple also won’t change the fact that MN public schools earned an “F” with the “hard math” and a “D” with the “easy math”, and neither will all the leftist spin in the country.

    But both of those grades will prepare public school students for lives working in apple orchards.

  2. Submitted by Bruce Johnson on 09/14/2011 - 03:20 pm.

    Thomas Swift, please tell Minnpost readers something about the last time you were in a Minnesota public school classroom.

  3. Submitted by David Greene on 09/14/2011 - 04:05 pm.

    Eden Prairie lost a great education visionary in Dr. Krull. It’s absolutely shameful what those parents put her through.

    Many, many, many studies have shown that integrated schools help ALL kids. Want to know one of the reasons Minnesota schools are falling behind? They’re some of the most segregated in the country.

  4. Submitted by Dimitri Drekonja on 09/14/2011 - 04:25 pm.

    Tom- perhaps you can fill me in on how this data shows the future demise of our public school students:

    Here’s the percent “meeting standards” for reading, all grades:
    Public = 34%, Private = 35%

    Percent “exceeding standards”:
    Public = 41%, Private = 42%

    Math scores (only grade 11)
    “meeting standards”:
    Public = 27%, Private = 21%

    “Exceeding standards”:
    Public = 21%, Private 1.2%

    (I find that last number hard to believe, as it’s such an outlier).

    Basically, it’s a wash for reading, and public schools seem to be outperforming the private schools, even dismissing the odd 1.2% value. Help me sort out where the big private school advantage can be found in these data- I’m a product of public schools, so perhaps I need a bit of extra help.

  5. Submitted by Dimitri Drekonja on 09/14/2011 - 04:50 pm.

    And yes, I’m aware that not all private schools release their test data, since they can choose to avoid some of this nonsense if they choose to. But from what’s out there, I don’t see a signal of superiority.

  6. Submitted by scott gibson on 09/14/2011 - 05:37 pm.

    Basically, Swifty, you’re full of it. And don’t give me how much tougher it was back in your day. I’ll bet I’m as old as you and I know for a fact, the math I teach is harder than what I took in high school and more students than ever are exposed to it. Before we declare schools incompetent, I’d really like to know the true criteria the other countries use when they test. It doesn’t change the fact that, by sheer numbers, the top 1% of our students would be overwhelmed by the top 1% of the students of India or China. The size of the population is not a function of the competency of the schools.

  7. Submitted by Ann Richards on 09/15/2011 - 08:25 am.

    I taught English in E Europe as a Peace Corps volunteer in a country with high test scores. The surprise for me is that not all students go to school. Those under-achieving ones with learning problems are pretty much on their own, and the responsibility of their parents. Physical disabilities? On your own. Also the schools channel students to their skill. So all the math and science students will be in one school and they get extra tutoring to excel. Parents hire retired teachers (retirement age for women was 55) for tutoring their young children starting in elementary school. Their are no after school activities and teens do not hold jobs. The state gives good students (most can qualify) an allowance to cover the cost of uniforms, tutors, and extras. It was a very competitive situation and many students were doctoring to deal with the stress they feel. Getting a scholarship is their ticket out and they work hard for that.

  8. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 09/15/2011 - 08:34 am.

    I don’t know where you got those figures, Dimitri, but that’s not what the raw data from the MN Dept. of Ed. says.

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