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Minnesota sees big drop in students meeting math, science and reading standards

Plus: Walz comes out against Minneapolis public safety charter amendment; hundreds of Albert Lea students quarantined after 36 test positive for COVID-19; Suni Lee joins upcoming season of ‘Dancing With the Stars’; and more.

Empty classroom desks
Photo by Rubén Rodriguez on Unsplash

MPR’s Elizabeth Shockman writes:“The number of Minnesota students meeting grade level standards in math, science and reading is down significantly compared to the last time students took tests in 2019. Only 53 percent of students met grade-level reading standards. That’s nearly 7 percentage points down from 2019. But math and science saw even steeper drops. Only 44 percent of Minnesota students met or exceeded math standards. And only 43 percent met or exceeded science standards. That is 11 and 8 percentage points lower than before the pandemic. … As has long been the case in Minnesota schools, students of color, English language learners and students from lower socioeconomic households were hit hardest.”

Says Theo Keith at KMSP-TV, “Gov. Tim Walz became the second prominent Democrat this week to come out against the Minneapolis ballot question that would replace the city’s police department with a public safety agency. In an interview with FOX 9 at the Minnesota State Fair, Walz said the ballot proposal had been ‘distilled down’ and has left voters ‘confused’ over its impact. Walz said police overhauls should be done by elected officials, not by referendum. ‘It’s been distilled down to this: defund police or fund police? I know it’s more complex than that, but I think that poses problems’, Walz said.”

WCCO-TV reports: “Hundreds of students in Albert Lea Area Schools are in quarantine after three dozen people tested positive for COVID-19 in the first five days of the school year. Superintendent Dr. Mike Funk made the announcement Thursday, saying 290 students have been exposed after 36 students were confirmed to have COVID-19. He says the district had ‘minimal procedures in place’ to mitigate the spread, including the voluntary use of masks for students and staff.”

Another WCCO-TV story says, “Twitter has determined Alan Page, the Hall of Fame Vikings defensive end who was named NFL MVP in 1971, broke barriers as Minnesota’s first African American Supreme Court justice and was awarded the Medal of Freedom in 2018, does not meet the “criteria for notability” to earn verified status.”

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The Star Tribune’s Joe Christensen reports, “St. Thomas’ first football game as a Division I team will likely have to wait. The Tommies announced Thursday that their football opener against St. Francis (Ill.), scheduled for Sept. 4, has been canceled because of COVID-19 protocols. The COVID issue is on St. Francis’ end, according to sources at each school. The Tommies, who are making the jump from Division III to Division I, are ‘searching for a replacement opponent to play at O’Shaughnessy Stadium on Sept. 4, or on a date later in the season’, the St. Thomas news release said.”

Kathy Berdan writes for the Pioneer Press: “The Guthrie Theater announced Thursday it will require all staff, artists and audiences to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 or a negative COVID-19 test when the renowned theater resumes in-person performances on Sept. 30. The Guthrie will be sold to full capacity, according to a news release, and require face masks for staff, volunteers and ticket holders regardless of vaccination status. The Guthrie joins other major performances venues in the Twin Cities — including the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, Live Nation venues, First Avenue venues and Orchestra Hall — in requiring vaccinations or negative tests.”

Also in the Pioneer Press, Nick Ferraro writes: “Clad in winter gear from head to toe in the middle of summer and carrying her trusty sculpting tools, Linda Christensen stepped into the refrigerated glass booth in the Dairy Building at the Minnesota State Fair on Thursday morning, eager to get going on turning butter into a bust for the 50th and final year. Following closely behind was Anna Euerle, the newly crowned 68th Princess Kay of the Milky Way. She will be Christensen’s last ‘butterhead,’ as she calls her work, which arguably is among the most recognized hallmarks of Minnesota culture, right up there with Paul Bunyan and lutefisk. … Christensen, 79, decided this year is as good as any to step away from the State Fair art form that has brought her international fame and personal delight for a half-century.”

The AP says: “Olympic gymnastics champion Suni Lee of St. Paul is joining the cast of ‘Dancing With the Stars’ for the show’s upcoming 30th season. Lee won the all-around competition at the Tokyo Olympics, as well as a silver and a bronze medal. The 18-year-old will juggle online classes from Auburn University while participating on the Los Angeles-based show.”

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