Dispute flares over report on Minneapolis graduation rate

REUTERS/Jonathan Alcorn

On second thought, Alejandra Matos of the Strib, tells us, “A dispute has erupted over the results of a new study that shows that Minneapolis had the lowest high school graduation rate among 50 major cities. The study, released by a Washington-based education group, showed less than 50 percent of Minneapolis students graduate within four years, and just 4 percent of all high school students in the city took the ACT or SAT college entrance exams. Minnesota education officials are raising questions about the methodology and the data used by the Center for Reinventing Public Education, which advocates for charter schools and opposes teacher tenure rules. State officials say the participation on college entrance exams, for instance, is much higher than the group is reporting.”

Frankly, I thought it would be a lot more. Curtis Gilbert at MPR says, “A court-sanctioned investigation has found State Sen. Jeff Hayden, DFL-Minneapolis, and his wife Theresa received at least $3,486 in improper reimbursements from a now-defunct non-profit organization. A report filed in Ramsey County District Court Thursday alleges Community Action of Minneapolis paid for plane tickets, hotel stays, travel expenses and spa services for the Haydens. The document says with the exception of the $96 spa visit, the Haydens have refused to pay the money back.”

“It’s working” so well in Wisconsin there has been concern over academic types leaving to move to TaxHellistan, i.e. Minnesota. Now the UW system is re-thinking its out-of-state student population. The AP story says, “A University of Wisconsin System committee approved a plan to lift UW-Madison’s cap on out-of-state students Thursday after the campus’ chancellor and system president insisted they need more freedom to attract fresh talent for Wisconsin employers. Chancellor Rebecca Blank and system President Ray Cross told the Board of Regents’ education committee that the number of Wisconsin high school graduates has been declining since 2009, resulting in decreasing college enrollment and exacerbating the state’s shortage of skilled workers. Lifting UW-Madison’s cap would allow the university to attract more top students from out of state who, they hope, would remain in Wisconsin after graduation.” Because they do have Spotted Cow, you know.

Lt. Governor Tina Smith was up north yesterday talking Greater Minnesota issues. Zach Kayser of the Brainerd Dispatch writes, “Smith’s remarks to the gathering were later mirrored in her comments at a press conference afterward: to beef up the state’s manufacturing power and overall economy, there’s a need for increased broadband infrastructure as well as workforce training to fill demand for workers. … Smith said [Trans-Pacific Partnership] was ‘largely a federal issue’ although it had the potential to both positively and negatively affect Minnesota. ‘For agricultural products and manufactured products it can be very helpful, but for other parts of Minnesota’s economy, it can be a real challenge,’ she said. ‘I think it cuts both ways.’”

At Rolling Stone, Steve McPherson looks at the Timberwolves and says, “‘I was under the impression that Flip wanted to win,’ says David Thorpe, an ESPN analyst and coach who has worked with NBA players for years. ‘It didn’t make sense to bring in longer term guys who were a little bit younger who would suck up all the minutes from their very, very talented group of extremely young players. What made some sense is to bring in guys who know how to play and have had success.’ In his experience, Thorpe says you’re only going to be able to truly assess a player’s potential when you put him alongside experienced players who can open up the game and make it easier. ‘The game is played by younger players – it’s read by older players,’ he says. ‘Their brains are a big part of their talent.’”

Now where will I go to watch the playoffs? In the Strib, Rick Nelson says, “La Belle Vie chef/owner Tim McKee announced that he is closing his much-lauded, highly polished culinary playground later this month, citing changing consumer tastes, rising costs and increased competition. A lengthy road construction project on Hennepin Avenue outside the restaurant only compounded the problem. ‘It’s hard to reconcile,’ said McKee. ‘How can we be so appreciated, yet we have to close our doors? There are hundreds of reasons why, and they all add up to make this decision a necessity. Everything I say seems kind of trite, but the fact of the matter is, this is a hard business.’”

Click it or ticket. The Forum News Service reminders us all — and that includes you — that the cops are cracking down again. “More than 300 law enforcement agencies in Minnesota will start extra seat belt law enforcement starting this weekend and continuing until the end of the month. The increased enforcement starts today (Friday) and will run until Oct. 25. While a state survey shows that seat belt compliance for front seat occupants is above 90 percent, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety said men still lead in disobeying the law.” That’s because each one of us is the world’s greatest driver.

Too much booze and cheesy TV. Carolyn Lange of the Grand Forks Herald reports, “Three men have been sentenced after pleaded guilty to a felony charge of damaging a historic rural Litchfield church that they believed was haunted. … The men told police they had been drinking in Willmar before they went to find Ness Church, which they believed was haunted. [Kyle] Huber told police they had videotaped the break-in in case they saw a ghost.”

On the University of St. Thomas site, Dan McLaughlin talks health care premiums and says: “The publicity surrounding these increases leaves the impression that health insurance is very expensive for everyone in Minnesota compared to the rest of the country and this is inaccurate. Data from the same study on the absolute rates – how much the insurance actually costs – shows a quite different picture. … Minneapolis has the third-lowest rate in the county even after the rate increase. If you were buying health insurance in New York City you would pay $1,668 more per year compared to Minneapolis.” Tell that to The Freedom Caucus!

Speaking of … maybe there’s a way to apply this sort of thing to Congress. The AP also says, “A Minnesota school district is seeking nearly $3 million from a farmer who sued to try to invalidate a successful $43 million bond referendum. Sibley East Public Schools in Gaylord says in a court motion that Nathan Kranz’ litigation cost it nearly $3 million and that he failed to put up a $300,000 surety bond as ordered by the judge in the case. The motion says Kranz should be held in contempt and fined to cover the costs to the district and taxpayers arising from the delays in the bond sale.”

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Comments (9)

  1. Submitted by Michael Gray on 10/09/2015 - 10:57 am.

    Alejandra Matos

    I’m absolutely sick of all the negative articles about Minneapolis Public Schools done by the Strib/Alejandra Matos. It seems she has been given a directive to attack our city schools. I guess now that Glen Taylor is her boss, its probably a good career move for her. I suppose they are just selling stories that they know their suburbanite readers will want to read. It seems that articles that reinforce the suburban lifestyle and put down the city garner a lot of clicks.

  2. Submitted by ALAN BELISLE on 10/09/2015 - 09:17 am.

    insurance premiums

    When the CEO of United Health Group makes $66 Million for ONE year, doesn’t that drive up the premiums a little for everyone else? The new robber barons are running health insurance in USA. And they are in cahoots with the thieves that sell health care. Broken system.

    • Submitted by Tim Smith on 10/09/2015 - 10:35 am.

      not really

      about $3.00 per insured per year, so you might want to find a new angle. They make a lot of revenue from non health insurance divisions too, so $3 per year is on the high side.

    • Submitted by Mark Kulda on 10/09/2015 - 12:10 pm.

      Not really

      Actually, I think it’s a lot less than $3-per year, per subscriber. Helmsley’s annual salary is only a little more than $5-million per year. The rest of his income is the result of stock option sales which comes from the stock market, not premiums. If you look at the salary of the CEO of Mayo, for comparison, I think its a lot more than that.

    • Submitted by T J Simplot on 10/09/2015 - 12:39 pm.

      United Healthcare may be located in Minnesota but they cannot sell in MN because they are a for profit company. His salary has no impact on premiums in Minnesota.

  3. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 10/09/2015 - 09:22 am.

    Irresponsible Reporting

    One would think that it would have occurred to someone at the Strib to check out the Center for Reinventing Public Education before trumpeting its story. Less than a minute on Google, and one finds a wealth of information about this group. Surely, their bias would be something that would be noted.

    Last night’s “news” on the television machine repeated the same story, read by folks with deeply furrowed brows (it’s a serious story, after all). They also could have done a little background checking, but that would have interfered with other vital news, like the new golf simulator at the airport.

  4. Submitted by richard owens on 10/09/2015 - 10:01 am.

    health insurance premiums

    When reporting the rise in premiums, it is fair to mention the rise in premium subsidies.

    Some people will actually be paying less when their subsidies are included.

    • Submitted by Tim Smith on 10/09/2015 - 10:37 am.

      who it hurts

      The middle of the middle class do not qualify for subsidies and aren’t our elected officials always claiming they want to help the middle class? Guess not…

    • Submitted by Mark Kulda on 10/09/2015 - 12:15 pm.

      What about deductibles?

      While it may be true that we now have the third lowest premiums in the country, up from the lowest in the country. Minnesota also had the highest average deductibles in the nation. So the true cost for consumers is not accurately portrayed when they only talk about premiums. An average Minnesotan with lower monthly premiums but a very high deductible who ends up getting sick and charged the full deductible by the health care provider ends up paying more than residents of other states who paid a little more each month in premium but had a much lower deductible. Which do you think is better?

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