Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.


DFL senators propose ambitious education plan

Free breakfast! The Strib story on the state Senate’s hefty education bill, written by Ricardo Lopez, says: “Free school breakfast for kindergartners through sixth grade, free student eye exams, free preschool for all 4-year-olds, more school counselors and more money to fix up aging schools could all come to pass under an ambitious package of education bills proposed by key DFL senators Wednesday. … The free breakfast bill, sponsored by Sen. Alice Johnson, DFL-Blaine, would apply to all kids up to the sixth grade, regardless of family income. Dayton’s proposal would limit free breakfast to those in third grade or below. Even that would take in 83,000 students at a cost of $28 million for two years.”

In the PiPress story by Christopher Magan there’s this: “Rep. Jenifer Loon, R-Eden Prairie, who chairs the House Education Finance Committee, said some of the programs Democrats have prioritized for increased spending have merit, but she would rather let individual districts make decisions about where to spend the money. If Minnesota is going to increase education spending, don’t dictate how districts, each with unique needs, spend that money, she said.”

The AP looks at the state’s counselor-to-student ratio: “Democrats in the Senate included universal preschool, workforce development and free community college in their early priorities this year. The new bills, focused on counselors and programs offering college credit to high school students, will meet dire needs statewide, their authors said Wednesday. The American School Counselor Association ranked Minnesota’s ratio of 782 students per school counselor in the 2010 school year third-worst in the country. Schools also struggle to hire nurses, psychologists and other support staff, said Sen. Susan Kent.”

Meanwhile, Don Davis of the Forum News Service has a different angle on education. “Nearly a dozen Minnesota school districts launched four-day school weeks as a means to save money, but as state officials say they need to return to five-day schedules, school officials, teachers, parents and students pleaded with a state House committee Tuesday to let them keep the policy because it has proven to be an improvement in many ways. … People from the Lake Superior, Blackduck and Ogilvie school districts joined in the plea, saying that their students do better because they have longer class periods in a four-day week and one day is available for students to do extended projects.”

Still fascinated with vaccinations? David Montgomery of the PiPress says, “Most Minnesota students go to schools with very high vaccination rates, but a few small districts have clusters of unvaccinated children. Minnesota law requires students to be vaccinated but allows parents to opt out of the requirement for medical or philosophical objections. Overall, fewer than 3 percent of Minnesota kindergartners opted out of all vaccines last year, but some school districts have no unvaccinated students while one charter school had 20 percent of its small class opt out last year.”

At MPR, Bob Collins looks at a Wall Street Journal story and says, “The Wall St. Journal today has assembled state-by-state data for the percentage of 19-to-35 month olds who have had their MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) shots, and for a state that regularly finishes near the top of these types of surveys, Minnesota is a surprising 31st with 90.8%, well behind border states Iowa (11th), Wisconsin (16th), North Dakotas (25th) and South Dakota (17th), according to the 2003 statistics.” It must be the surge in Libertarians. 

The consensus is that the FCC move declaring the internet essentially a public utility is quite enlightened. But Keith Ellison wants to take it a step further. City Pages’ Ben Johnson says, “Rep. Keith Ellison thinks mobile broadband like the 3G and 4G you get on your phone deserves the same net neutrality protection the FCC is considering granting traditional wired broadband. If the FCC approves net neutrality, internet providers would be barred from charging companies extra for an exclusive high-speed internet connection. Net neutrality aims to keep the playing field level between the Googles and Netflixes and basement start-up companies. Ellison co-authored a letter with California Democrat Rep. Maxine Waters delivered to the FCC yesterday arguing protection should be extended to mobile broadband too, because communities of color disproportionately rely on it.”

What can you that hasn’t been said a million times before? Tad Vezner of the PiPress reports, “Two vehicles drove around “Thin Ice” signs Wednesday evening on Lake Minnetonka and broke through, though all the occupants were able to escape without injury, authorities said. … Hennepin County officials noted that the vehicles’ owners were responsible for recovery and towing, which ‘typically costs several thousand dollars.’

We’re in the Top 10! Kristen Leigh Painter of the Strib says, “Minnesota made the top 10 list for new LEED-certified space in 2014, according to the U.S. Green Building Council’s annual ranking. Last year, Minnesota certified 39 projects totaling more 9.5 million square feet of real estate to LEED standards, the most recognized and widely used green building rating system. The rankings are based on a per-capita square footage using 2010 U.S. Census data, with Minnesota certifying 1.79 square feet of LEED space per resident in 2014. This helped lift the state from its No. 10 position in 2013 to No. 9 last year.”

Someone’s whitewashing Edina on Wikipedia. John Reinan at the Strib says, “Edina’s racist past is the focus of an ‘edit war’ on Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia that’s become the world’s go-to research site. Eight times last summer and autumn, a university student added information about the city’s history of racial exclusion to Edina’s Wikipedia page. And each time, the same anonymous Wikipedia reader/editor removed the information. … Edina’s Country Club neighborhood, built between 1924 and 1944, is often cited by historians for its racially restrictive deed covenants. Homebuyers in Country Club had to agree they would never sell their property to anyone ‘other than one of the white or Caucasian race.’ Nonwhites also were barred from living in Country Club unless they were domestic servants and residing in the household they served.” 

You can also learn about all our free newsletter options.

Comments (13)

  1. Submitted by Bill Gleason on 02/05/2015 - 06:21 am.

    Who will be the first to complain

    that a free breakfast is not free?

  2. Submitted by Bill Schletzer on 02/05/2015 - 07:56 am.

    All our cakes were white cakes

    I grew up in Edina in the 50s and 60s; graduated in ’66. I know of no black family or person who lived in Edina during that time except for Vic Power, who played first base for the Twins for a while. He lived at the dead end of a road on the Northeast corner of the intersection of the Crosstown and highway 100, about as isolated as could be. The Wikipedia user, Juno, who is “whitewashing” the Edina Wikipedia entry, does not speak for me. I don’t remember any black kids in Richfield or Bloomington either, where I spent a lot of time. It was easier for white people in the north to be “liberal” about racial issues because they were isolated by their hypocritical covenants. Instead of having the county sheriff keep the blacks in their places like they did down south we had the real estate man (they were probably all men back then, another story) “protecting” us.

    • Submitted by jody rooney on 02/05/2015 - 10:58 am.

      I grew up in White Bear Lake and we had

      non Caucasian students. True not many and I didn’t walk in their shoes so I don’t know how they were treated. So there you have it my suburb vs. yours. Not much of a basis for drawing big conclusions is it.

      In 1960 less then 1.2% of the population were people of color by 1970 it was 1.8% at that time just the low numbers wouldn’t have put a person of color in your neighborhood. In the 60’s there was a higher percentage of people of color in Cass and Beltrami County than in Hennepin. In 2013 the census puts the percentage of people of color in the state at 18%.

      It would take more than one subdivision in Edina to make a blanket statement on covenants.

      I don’t disagree that there was discrimination in Minnesota in the 1960’s or even today, and I am sure that it was done in the passive aggressive mode that we are so good at, but to base it on your own observation and not data is irresponsible.

      • Submitted by James Hamilton on 02/05/2015 - 11:52 am.

        I don’t know when you grew up

        in WBL, Jody. I lived there from ’56 to ’70 and can probably still name the few families and students of color in high school.

        I’m not aware of any restrictions on deeds in most of the WBL area, but North Oaks deeds did bar the sale of property to Jews. The Minnesota Supreme Court prohibited enforcement of those restrictions in the latter ’60s, as I recall. (Wikipedia’s entry on North Oaks does not refer to this.) North Oaks, a completely privately owned city, was established on what was once James J. Hill’s farmland, by the children of Louis Hill. Presumably, it was their company (the North Oaks Company) that imposed this restriction on future sales of the lots. (James J. Hill’s lawyer, Jacob Schiff, once proposed the establishment of a Jewish colony at Mille Lacs.)

        But we didn’t need deed restrictions in the growth years of WBL. “Everybody knew” where people of certain racial or ethnic backgrounds could and couldn’t live and it was enforced by real estate agents and many other industries, not to mention the economic limitations they faced.

        • Submitted by Pavel Yankovic on 02/05/2015 - 01:55 pm.

          I find it amusing…

          that this area where liberals preach “tolerance” and “diversity” hides a dark past of anti semitism and discrimination just like the south.

          • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/05/2015 - 02:30 pm.


            Sorry, but I don’t get what’s so “amusing” about a history of anti-semitism and discrimination.

            We can try to change the effects of that history while recognizing that it happened, or we can smirk about getting a dig in at the “other side.”

            • Submitted by Pavel Yankovic on 02/05/2015 - 04:10 pm.

              The hipocricy…

              is what is amusing.

              • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/06/2015 - 12:20 pm.

                The what?

                What is hypocritical about decrying racism now because it was prevalent here in the past? Is anyone saying it was alright to do it then?

                There are some commentators who never tire of pointing to the election of Tim Scott as Senator from South Carolina as proof that racism is gone. Do you find it hypocritical for this to happen in a state that started an armed insurrection to protect slavery? Or that did not just permit, but required, racial segregation for years? How about the fact that many of Senator Scott’s backers are not ashamed to justify that insurrection, or to make excuses for segregation (“We just didn’t want the federal government telling us what to do!”)? Are those commentators “amusing” in their hypocrisy?

                Frankly, I find nothing at all about racism or anti-semitism “amusing.”

            • Submitted by jason myron on 02/05/2015 - 04:55 pm.

              Not to mention

              the attempt to somehow connect the dots towards liberals. Of course, considering the vast number of things that I’ve heard conservatives blaming liberalism for, I can’t say I’m surprised.

  3. Submitted by Pavel Yankovic on 02/05/2015 - 09:00 am.

    I neve understood…..

    the attraction of driving on the ice. I have lived in colder climates my entire life and never saw it until I moved here. What is the thrill?

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 02/05/2015 - 09:16 am.

      The thrill of stupidity

      There are a frightening number of people who like to do things like this just because they aren’t supposed to. Putting a “Thin Ice” sign by a lake is practically begging them to drive on the ice.

    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 02/05/2015 - 09:32 am.

      No thrill

      But a meal of freshly caught fish is a bonus. It really isn’t too difficult to not put ones vehicle through the ice, but it helps when one is generally A. Intelligent and cautious, and B. Not about 8 beers into a case. The vast majority of anglers experience no difficulty, at all, ever. The few reckless ones end up on the evening news and in the paper causing the inexperienced to question the sanity of everyone. Heck, my drivers ed instructor required us to practice our winter driving skills on a frozen lake, as the ice was a great fill in for an icy highway, and we wouldn’t be a threat to anyone else.

    • Submitted by James Hamilton on 02/05/2015 - 11:13 am.

      You have to be 16

      and driving a powerful rear-wheel drive vehicle to truly appreciate driving on ice and engaging in all the other dangerous activities that makes possible. That, or want to ice fish at a spot a good distance from shore.

Leave a Reply