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Star Tribune report details black exodus from Minneapolis public schools

Plus: study finds Minnesota county roads pretty safe; Xcel wants to split its North Dakota, Minnesota operations; St. Paul-based College Possible gets $20M gift from former Microsoft exec; and more.


Latest installment of the Strib’s series about students fleeing public schools focuses on why black students leave Minneapolis. The Star Tribune’s Beena Raghavendran and Mary Jo Webster report: “Once it was the biggest school district in the state. Now Minneapolis Public Schools is the biggest loser in Minnesota’s robust school-choice environment, surrendering more kids to charter schools and other public school options than any other district. … And unlike most other school districts in the state, most of the defections in Minneapolis are occurring among black families. The 9,000 departing black students make up more than half of the districtwide total, according to a Star Tribune analysis of state enrollment data.”

That’s a good thing, right? The Duluth News Tribune’s Chelsey Perkins reports: “It’s an oft-repeated anecdote: people always seem ready to offer an opinion of the most dangerous curves or intersections. … A study examining every mile of county roadways in the state seeks to identify those areas most at risk for crashes causing serious injury or death using science—before they happen. … Howard Preston, an engineer contracted to work with the Minnesota Department of Transportation, told the Crow Wing County Board Tuesday qualifying for federal dollars for safety improvements means proving some kind of crash problem. Based on those measures, nowhere in the state showed a big enough problem, Preston said. … ‘I’ve spent years looking for “Dead Man’s Curve,”’ Preston said. ‘I can’t find it. It doesn’t exist in this state.’ ”

Two states that have taken pretty different paths. E&E News reports: “Citing divergent energy policy priorities among two Upper Midwest neighbors, Xcel Energy Inc. is looking to legally separate its electric utility operations in Minnesota and North Dakota after more than a century operating as a combined system. … The Minneapolis-based utility notified its preference to form a separate North Dakota distribution utility — a process it warned that would take several years and cost millions of dollars. … North Dakota regulators have contracted with a consulting firm to help analyze the proposal as well as a number of other Xcel Energy projects, and they’ve referred the case to an administrative law judge.”

Wow. The Star Tribune’s Shannon Prather reports: “A former Microsoft executive and current NBA owner has awarded $20 million to St. Paul-based College Possible, a national nonprofit that helps low-income students enroll and succeed in college. … The record-setting gift was announced by the Ballmer Group, founded by former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and his wife, Connie, and will be dispensed over a 10-year period.”

In other news…

Football, not fútbol: “Gustavus Adolphus has a Mexican football connection” [ESPN]

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Minnesotan of note: “Dan Wilson has written songs with Adele and Taylor Swift — now it’s his turn to sing them” [City Pages]

Shanties move into the city: “Art Shanties head to Lake Harriet, offer a $25 membership program” [City Pages]

One roadside bamboo grove away from a serious accident: “Panda-costumed motorcyclist cited for reckless driving” [Pioneer Press]

Give people what they want: “Surly Brewing replacing its second-floor Brewer’s Table with pizza joint” [Star Tribune]