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  • US Transportation Officials: No Federal Funds for Troubled Southwest Light Rail

    Hold everything. Top U.S. Department of Transportation officials have informed Minnesota legislators the controversial Southwest Light Rail Transit line does not qualify for $928 million in make-or-break federal funding necessary for the Metropolitan Council to start construction as planned this year. The announcement came from the Federal Transit Administration in response to a letter from Minnesota House Speaker Kurt Daudt and 83 Republican state legislators who expressed concern over SWLRT’s “financial plan, potential environmental impacts, alignment and projected ridership.” Rep. Jason Lewis, R-Minn., has also urged FTA to reject funding. The FTA oversees the federal New Starts program that provides...

  • Center Launches Major New Education Program

    Wednesday afternoon, American Experiment launched its “Great Jobs Without a Four-Year Degree” project with a kickoff event at the Minnesota History Center. The keynote speech was delivered by Nick Eberstadt, author of Men Without Work, and Kathy Kersten and Mitch Pearlstein laid out some of their plans for the project. The event was well-attended despite heavy rain and traffic delays. Guests included educators, union representatives, corporate executives, employees of relevant state agencies, and others. The Star Tribune has a good report on the event: [T]he problem continues to grow in the state and the Center of the American Experiment is...

  • School Choice Scholarships Expand Opportunity for All Students

    Mitch Pearlstein and American Experiment have led the quest for real school choice since Mitch founded the Center 27 years ago. We applaud the great work Mitch has done, and because of his efforts, the Center is hopeful Minnesota will give students and parents more voice and choice in the near future. Commentary by Reynolds-Anthony Harris in the Star Tribune shows he is hopeful, too. School choice offers many ways to help all students receive a great education. And Minnesota has the opportunity to give more young people access to the best educational setting.

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  • MPS Board Backed Into a Corner by Protesters

    The Minneapolis Public Schools board had quite the gathering Tuesday evening. What was supposed to be a pretty cut-and-dried meeting turned into the board voting on an item that wasn’t on the original agenda. According to the Star Tribune, protesters packed themselves into the boardroom to demand the board rehire seven “educators of color” who were “pushed out” for “advocating for students.” The tirade from protesters forced the board to vote on a resolution reversing the resignation status of the seven employees. So, the protesters accomplished what they came for. But it’s the unsavory tactics used — the chanting, hissing, interrupting, and jeering — that discredit them and reveal their contempt toward the democratic process.

  • Eliot Seide’s Foolish Take on High Minnesota Taxes

    I give Eliot Seide, Minnesota’s leading public employee union boss, credit for his clever Star Tribune column (“OK, it’s a drag, but think what your taxes do”) that painted all the joys of paying high Minnesota taxes on the eve of tax day.  Those foolish Tea Party protesters should be grateful for the opportunity, otherwise imagine the horrors of living without clean water, indoor plumbing, highway lines and lights, the sense of community provided by public transit, teachers, bus drivers, lunchroom staff, librarians, state parks, walleye-stocked lakes, a safety net for the less fortunate, and Meals on Wheels. The logic of...

  • College Student Fees Targeted By Youngest MN Lawmaker

    Student fees at Minnesota’s public universities and colleges used to be something of an afterthought in the whirl of registering for classes. But over the years those fees have become a concern for many students already hit with perpetual tuition hikes. The cost of fees automatically imposed in addition to tuition for students at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus has risen to $432 per semester. But the Star Tribune reports help is on the way for students who don’t need or want the services funded by their fees. Fees that help pay for health and recreation centers, school...

  • Is Betsy Hodges One of America’s Worst Mayors?

    Writing in the Observer, Arick Wierson rates the three worst mayors in the U.S. Wierson ranks the mayor of Minneapolis, Betsy Hodges, second-worst. Hodges is in rarefied company: #3 on the list is Rahm Emanuel, and #1 is Bill de Blasio. Why does Wierson think Hodges is such a terrible mayor? She has taken a weak stance on crime that appears to be based as much on wishful thinking as it is on strategy and tactics. While violent crime in the city continues to climb, Hodges has actually bragged about making fewer arrests. Her mishandling of the Jamar Clark protests,...