It’s hard to remember the last time No Child Left Behind was popular. In the Strib Kim McGuire and Allison Sherry write, “Republican Rep. John Kline, chair of the House Education Committee, says the 2002 No Child Left Behind law has outlived its usefulness. He doesn’t like the federally imposed, one-size-fits-all approach to how schools are treated and thinks decisions about how to measure student achievement and growth should be shifted back to local teachers, parents and schools. In many ways, the national teachers union thinks much the same thing. … The tension among the two political parties, the unions, the Obama administration, governors, state lawmakers and parent groups centers on what should happen after the tests show a school is failing large numbers of students. Whose responsibility is that? Is that a state problem? Or a federal one?”
Speaking of schools. How exactly to pay for public school maintenance gets another look from Christopher Magan of the PiPress. “One of the bills introduced by lawmakers essentially would open alternative facilities funding to all Minnesota school districts. That would help districts such as Forest Lake and more rural districts that face similar funding challenges. … Yet, belonging to the alternative facilities funding system doesn’t address all of districts’ facilities needs. Most of the school districts asking voters for new capital funds this year are already part of the alternative facilities program.”
And yet again, the Boomers are coming up short in comparison to their parents. In the Strib, Jackie Crosby says, “Reliable, longtime volunteers, who were shaped by the Great Depression and WWII, are dying or getting too old to do the work. Baby boomers aren’t stepping in to fill their shoes — at least not in the same way. ‘The people doing the volunteering are elderly,’ Johnson said. ‘We can’t get the new ones because they have to continue to work and support themselves.’ Many boomers are working beyond the traditional retirement age, and have little time to give.” So why not the Millenials? They’re not doing anything, right?
Yeah, the GOP is kind of owning that “We’re-Greater-Minnesota’s-BFF” thing. Says Don Davis for the Forum News Service, “Minnesota House Democrats think they are getting a bum rap by Republicans who say that Greater Minnesota has been ignored in recent years. A move to treat Greater Minnesota right was the GOP focus for much of last fall’s House campaign and has intensified since then. Even suburban Republicans have joined the battle. … House Minority Leader Paul Thissen, D-Minneapolis, has been joined by Assistant Minority Leader Paul Marquart, D-Dilworth, and others in saying they did lots to help greater Minnesota when Democrats were in charge the last two years.”
The chances of this sort of thing leaking are probably pretty high. The Forum folks also report, “Attorneys for two junior hockey players accused of recording and distributing video of sex with a 15-year-old girl are asking a judge to throw out evidence police seized from one of the players’ cellphone. … Their attorneys have filed motions to suppress a statement that Smith made to police on March 20 as well as the seizure and search of Smith’s cellphone and all evidence obtained by search warrants. They also hope to disclose the girl’s school and disciplinary records.”
Wisconsin may get tough on vaping. Dana Ferguson of the AP says, “Lawmakers are set to reignite conversations this week about whether ‘vaping’ — using electronic cigarettes and other vapor smoking devices — should be included in Wisconsin’s smoking ban. The ban that took effect in 2010 outlaws smoking in public indoor locations, including restaurants and bars. It doesn’t apply to vaping, giving venue owners the right to decide whether or not to permit e-cigarettes. … Rep. Joel Kleefisch, R-Oconomowoc, opposes the ban and plans his own bill this week to protect e-cigarette use. Kleefisch said he does not believe lawmakers should be able to tell private business owners what patrons can do in their establishments.” Now THAT is the Wisconsin I know.
And 80 percent is, what, a ‘B’? Alex Friedrich of MPR says, “Minnesota State Colleges and Universities officials have made four out of five targets set by lawmakers. In 2013, the legislature decided to withhold 5 percent of the system’s funding until it met at least three goals. The system increased the number of degrees it produced, raised the employment rate of its graduates, and created a plan to reduce student expenses. It also reallocated millions toward instruction and student support.”
Did you catch this nugget from CNN? Steve Hargreaves writes, “Oil prices have been sinking for months. And while that’s good news for most Americans, what happens to towns like Williston, N.D., that have built an entire economy around the oil industry? The drop in crude prices, while beneficial for drivers, has already cost thousands of oil jobs. Schlumberger was among several companies to take a hit, laying off 9,000 people last week. … the effects of less drilling are likely to hit the entire area hard. As drilling companies cut back, there will eventually be less work for companies that provide ancillary services like fracking or trucking. ‘I’d say we’ll lose 20,000 jobs by June,’ said Arthaud.”
Sadly, this sounds like the inevitability that became a reality. Paul Walsh of the Strib says, “A Twin Cities man who had been drinking ran a stop sign in east-central Minnesota and killed another motorist in a collision of two cars late Saturday, authorities said Sunday. … Killed was Anthony R. Sundholm, 47, of McGrath, the patrol said. Suffering noncritical injuries were driver Peter Sarkisyan, 29, of Forest Lake, and Seth A. Millner, 27, of Roseville. … Sarkisyan’s driving record in Minnesota includes several convictions since 2004, including: running a stop sign, driving after his license was revoked, driving with an invalid license, careless driving, driving while uninsured and two speeding violations.”
Finally, long-form torture and/or comedy is beginning again in Iowa. Says Patrick Condon for the Strib, “An assortment of possible Republican presidential candidates were in Iowa Saturday, trying to appeal to conservative activists at a Des Moines forum sponsored by U.S. Rep. Steve King. Jan Mickelson, a conservative talk radio host, succintly summed up what was in store for several hundred conservative activists gathered Saturday for a forum that saw a baker’s dozen of Republican presidential contenders line up to seek favor. ‘Let the pandering begin,’ Mickelson said. Pander they did. Over nearly nine hours, high-profile Republicans that included Sen. Ted Cruz, governors like Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Chris Christie [of New Jersey] and Rick Perry [of Texas], and media-driven stars like Sarah Palin and Donald Trump took turns ridiculing President Obama.”