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Pension Funding: the Pension Problem Will Return, Again

The pension bill, which Gov. Mark Dayton supports, is expected to become law though some lawmakers are stunned at the growing expense. Pensions are supposed to be covered by employer and employee contributions that are then invested by the state, but Minnesota stopped paying the full cost of pensions in the early 2000s. Imagine if you did that with your mortgage and then tried to catch up to avoid foreclosure....

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Gov. Mark Dayton: holding his breath until he turns blue at elementary school

It is outrageous that a governor would subject children to his political temper tantrum.  Citizens must object to this injection of partisan politics in our K-12 taxpayer supported schools. Dayton can read books to children and encourage on them on their way but no governor should ever use our schools and children as partisan playthings. Shame on Gov. Mark Dayton; shame on the principal for allowing the school and children to be used.  His office number is 651. 201. 3400. Call his office and tell him to knock it off. (And to sign the tax bill already.)   Here is the story in...

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Teachers Agree: Teachers’ unions make it “harder to fire bad teachers”

One reoccurring criticism of teachers’ unions is that they protect “bad” teachers­—those “how are you still here?” teachers. But do teachers themselves share this same perception? According to a recent poll, they do. Teacher quality is a vital determinant of student achievement. There is a way to keep good teachers and remove inadequate ones. But the status quo needs to change first. And teachers are calling out the union for getting in the way. ...

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One Year Alternatives to College: Educational institutions for the “digital age”

Students who want to avoid college debt, while developing highly prized job skills, are increasingly turning to a new sort of educational institution—one that bills itself as a “college alternative for the digital age.” In a year or less, these schools train students in in-demand skills that lead to well-paying high-tech jobs. Students generally leave the program debt-free. They pay a low tuition either using money they earn during apprenticeships or from earnings after they obtain a job....

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An Expansion of Educational Opportunities Formerly Hard to Envision

In searching the other day for updated, albeit mundane college data I came across, as the statistical gods sometimes allow, truly remarkable enrollment data I had never seen before.  (Before going any further, I understand if your interest in reading any more of this is tepid, but I would urge you to do so, as the numbers show that lower-income students are making more progress in at least starting college than is commonly assumed.  This is good news.)...

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True Teacher Appreciation: Restoring educators’ voice and choice

Teachers were celebrated last week during National Teacher Appreciation Week. But even though the five days of nationally honoring educators has come and gone, teachers can and should continue to be recognized and supported outside the second week of May. In order to acknowledge what they really need—and deserve—we need to listen to their voices and restore respect for their choices. A new project called Educated Teachers MN will equip teachers with resources and knowledge to help them better understand issues they have asked for more voice on—from student behavior and paperwork to union membership and pension plans. It will...

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Educated Teachers Project Launches Statewide Information Campaign

A new project launched on National Teacher Appreciation Day, Educated Teachers MN aims to inform and empower Minnesota K-12 educators by raising awareness of a U.S. Supreme Court case widely expected to end the forced payment of union dues and fees by teachers and other government employees as a condition of employment. In 2016-2017 Education Minnesota collected over $50 million in dues and fees from 75,000 teachers statewide that were used for collective bargaining, lobbying and advancing the union’s political agenda. But Education Minnesota, AFSCME-5 and other statewide public employee unions are already bracing for the potential loss of thousands of members...

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Inside the Hornets’ Nest: Edina’s 5-hour school board meeting over the word “frightening”

The hornets’ nest was stirred up again Tuesday evening when the Edina School Board met to discuss possible disciplinary action against its Vice Chair Sarah Patzloff over a social media post. Around 150 parents and community members—from kids to grandparents—gathered in the hallway of the Edina Community Center to show overwhelming support for Sarah who has served on the school board for six years....

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Letter to GOP Leadership: No Pre-K Expansion; Preserving the K-12 Mission

Dayton is campaigning hard for $138 million “emergency” school funding but he might just settle for more pre-K funding instead. The governor has, in the past, successfully expanded pre-K programs in exchange for getting GOP K-12 education or other priorities passed. We understand that, like children who do not get their way, Gov. Dayton holds his breath until he turns blue, but for the sake of our small children, and the K-12 mission, please deny him this final victory. ...

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