The state’s embarrassing achievement gap has closed a bit. Tim Post of MPR says, “Nearly two-thirds of Minnesota schools are on track to lower achievement gaps in reading and math 50 percent by 2017, the Minnesota Department of Education said Tuesday. That’s based on the latest round of accountability scores for all of Minnesota’s schools through the Multiple Measurements Ratings system. … Both the Minneapolis and St. Paul districts have decided to work with struggling schools on their own, using their own experts and without in-school support from the state.”
The PiPress story, by Christopher Magan and Josh Verges adds this: “Despite progress statewide, few St. Paul and Minneapolis schools got top marks. That’s troubling for Brenda Cassellius, the state education commissioner. ‘We will not meet our state goals unless we see significant improvement in Minneapolis and St. Paul student performance,’ she said. Among 1,451 schools to get a Focus Rating — a measure of a school’s contribution toward closing the state’s achievement gap — only one St. Paul and three Minneapolis public district schools scored in the top quarter of the state.”
Hey, they’re lucky they got anything before Scott Walker builds The Wall. In the Strib Dee DePass reports, “The high U.S. dollar smothered any chance for export growth during the second quarter for Minnesota companies — especially with Canada, the state’s largest trade partner. Exports to Canada fell 21 percent to $1.13 billion in the quarter. ‘Wow, 21 percent. That’s a big chunk,’ said Bob Kill, CEO of the manufacturing consulting firm Enterprise Minnesota.”
I won a tape measure once. The AP says, “Luck has struck not once but twice this year for a St. Paul man playing the Minnesota Lottery. Jeffrey Bock matched all 12 numbers in Sunday’s ‘All or Nothing’ drawing to win the $100,000 top prize. Bock ran his ticket through a scanner and the message read: ‘Claim at the Lottery.’ That typically means a decent prize, and Bock figured he’d won $1,000. When he showed up at Minnesota Lottery headquarters, however, he found it was much more. The $100,000 was his second big prize this year. In January, he won $20,000 playing a scratch game.”
Charlie Weaver says Trump’s immigration is bad mojo for business. In a Strib commentary, the executive director of the Minnesota Business Partnership says: “In addition to ending birthright citizenship, Trump’s immigration plan consists of rounding up and deporting unauthorized immigrants, constructing a reinforced wall along the entirety of the U.S.-Mexico border, and imposing onerous regulations on employers and workers. The plan also calls for increasing costs and red tape associated with work visas, while eliminating some visas altogether. Trump’s proposal is unworkable, hugely expensive, and harmful to American employers and workers. Given that much of Trump’s wealth was accumulated in sectors that rely heavily upon foreign-born workers, one would expect him to have a greater appreciation for immigration’s role in our economy.”
Nope, it’s not Grandma’s 1992 Oldsmobile. KARE-TV says, “The Honda Civic is Minnesota’s most popular car among car thieves. The National Insurance Crime Bureau released its annual Hot Wheels report, which identifies the 10 most-stolen vehicles in the U.S. In Minnesota, the Civic took the top spot with just over 800 stolen in 2014.”
Obviously we should worry that they’re as close as this to us in anything. Mike Tighe of the LaCrosse Tribune says, “Wisconsin and Minnesota, which are intense rivals on issues such as taxes, political allegiances, and collegiate and professional sports, both are in the top five on a level playing field they share. Actually, the field is water, with a new report putting the neighbors in the top five of 28 states studied on the numbers of registered boats and fishing licenses, and the Gopher State leading in each. The Badger State, meanwhile, takes the prize for summer camps with water activities, according to a new Summer Fun Index that Wisconsin Environment released during a press conference today at Riverside Park in La Crosse.”
“Flawed bidding” you say. MPR’s Mark Zdechlik reports, “Several Democratic and Republican state senators want DFL Gov. Mark Dayton to delay implementation of 2016 Medicaid and MinnesotaCare contracts out of concern bidding may have been ‘flawed.’ At the center of those concerns is the decision by Dayton’s Department of Health and Human Services to strip one major provider, UCare, of the vast majority of its customers. UCare lost many of its low-income Minnesota clients to other insurance companies in the state bidding process. State officials said UCare simply lost out on the 2016 contracts because its products didn’t score as high as the competition on cost and quality measures.”
Next up in candidate-watching: Marco Rubio. Says Tim Pugmire at MPR, “U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., will be in Minneapolis next week to raise money for his presidential campaign. Rubio will attend the Sept. 10 event at the Minneapolis Club. Supporters will pay $1,000 per person for a VIP reception, $500 for lunch, according to the invitation. A campaign spokesperson said no other events are planned during the trip.” The cash will go for his campaign, right?
You don’t have to brag when other people do it for you. Says John Reinan in the Strib, “Everyone likes living in Edina, but it costs too much. In a survey of more than 500 residents to be discussed at Tuesday’s City Council meeting, not a single person rated Edina’s quality of life as ‘poor.’ In fact, almost everybody — 96 percent — rated it as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’. But that quality of life comes at a cost, as residents have discovered. More than half of those surveyed expressed concern about the high cost of living in the city, and two-thirds said that housing is too expensive. Housing — including teardowns and expense — also was the No. 1 choice when residents were asked to name the most serious issue facing the city.” Here I thought it would be the long-delayed reopening of Patisserie Margo.
Not really all-that beloved or even all-that local, Delta is promising to do do something sort of like paying if it’s on-time record falls behind either American or United. Michael Sasso of Bloomberg says, “Basking in an on-time rate that beats rivals, Delta Air Lines promises to pay up if it can’t get road warriors to their destinations more reliably than American and United. Delta is pitching a new program to its corporate clients that would award travel credits to those accounts if the carrier falls behind its two biggest rivals in on-time arrival and flight completion rates.”
Fatality investigation. Rochelle Olson of the Strib says, “The death of a construction worker atop the Minnesota Vikings’ new stadium occurred after he slid down a roof, broke through a guardrail and fell to an elevated platform below, according to a description posted Tuesday on the state Department of Labor and Industry’s fatality investigation page. Both Jeramie Gruber, who died, and a second worker fell while installing a solid roof, the report said. The worker who survived struck a post that stopped his descent.”
Truly like shooting fish in a barrel. Eugene Kiely at FactCheck.org spends actual time out of his day ascertaining fact and much fiction in the claims of Our Favorite Neighboring Governor. “When [Scott] Walker became governor on Jan. 3, 2011, the state’s unemployment rate stood at 8.1 percent, and the national rate was 9.3 percent. That was based on employment levels as of December 2010. So, Wisconsin’s rate was 1.2 percentage points lower than the U.S. average. But the state’s advantage over the U.S. has shrunk by 0.5 percentage points under Walker. As of July, Wisconsin had an unemployment rate of 4.6 percent, and the U.S. rate was 5.3 percent, meaning Wisconsin’s rate is now only 0.7 percentage points below the national average. Wisconsin’s jobless rate has fallen more slowly than the national rate mainly because its job growth has been slower. From January 2011 to July 2015, the U.S. added 11,245,000 jobs, an increase of 8.6 percent, while Wisconsin has added 148,300 jobs, an increase of 5.4 percent.”