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2019 Legislative Recap

Center of the American Experiment pushed back against far-left policies like the 100% green energy mandate, 70% gas tax hike, and 9% increase in the state budget. Conservative legislators stopped the most radical ideas, but conceded a 6% budget increase. In a surprise victory, a middle-class income tax cut was also passed....

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Florida adds another school choice program, Minnesota fails to pass tax-credit scholarships

As I write this, I am lounging on a beach chair in Palm Coast, Florida enjoying 87-degree weather that feels cooler thanks to a breeze coming off the Atlantic Ocean. The school year here has ended, and the local newspaper headlines have been focused on the state’s expansion of school choice through its fifth voucher program. Minnesota had the opportunity this most recent legislative session to help more students access quality school options through its own tax credit scholarship program, but the Legislature failed to approve the Equity and Opportunity Scholarship Act....

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Voluntary Pre-K held at 2017 level, but does not target neediest children

Minnesota is spending enormous sums of money on education programs for very young children, but the state’s mission is muddled and the results discouraging. Plus, the policy forces private child care providers to compete with “free” child care, threatening to create a government monopoly on child care. The good news is that the Senate held the line, with no increase in spending, and Gov. Walz, is showing some independence from the teachers’ union. ...

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Postsecondary education: And who — who — will take the road less traveled by?

Four years prostrate to the higher mind isn't right for everyone. Nod if you can hear me. Vigorously if you truly agree. This Sunday Cover op-ed originally ran in the Star Tribune on June 2, 2019. I have spent most of my professional life expressing ideas that cause people to shake their heads horizontally in disagreement rather than nodding vertically in approval. But I’ve seen abundant nodding in the last few years when talking about how large numbers of young Americans who are not terribly interested in attending a four-year college enroll in one anyway — pressured by parents, peers, teachers, school...

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Local charity ‘Start Reading Now’ aims to develop a love of reading in kids

[caption id="attachment_15043" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] This was Hmong International Academy's 6th book fair. These 1st graders were great! The girl on the lower left with her backpack pulled up was sooooo excited while we gave the presentation she could hardly control herself. It was awesome![/caption] Here at Center of the American Experiment, we advocate for free-market solutions. When free enterprise hasn’t developed a remedy to a tough problem facing society, government programs are too frequently pushed as the answer. We argue private charity should play a larger role, and would often do a better job helping those who need it. One perennial problem...

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The Historic Fairness of Standardized Admissions Tests

The SATs and ACT’s are particularly high-profile right now, in largest part because of ridiculously rich parents spending ridiculous amounts of money to feloniously insinuate their children into elite and not-so-elite universities and colleges.  Beyond accelerating perpetual arguments about the fundamental fairness of higher education admissions, the scandal also has provoked crisper conversation about the fairness of the tests themselves.  Further mixing things up have been news accounts about how various colleges and universities around the country have decided not to use either of the two tests at all. The aim of SATs and ACTs is gauging academic preparation and readiness...

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New Orleans’s education success story: A model worth following

The school reform efforts in New Orleans, Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005 have been the largest and most complete experiment in charter school success. With a history of failing schools, low academic performance, misuse of finances, and leadership problems that predated the natural disaster, the New Orleans Parish school district had nowhere to go but up, and an all-charter school system led the way. As we celebrate National Charter Schools Week, we should reflect on New Orleans’s groundbreaking reforms and how they shook the foundation of American education and represent a model worth following. Photo Source: Getty Images...

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Divided legislature takes different approaches to education spending

Minnesota's divided legislature has to find common ground on education spending proposals and decide what level of state school funding school districts across Minnesota will receive before a May 20 deadline, according to the Star Tribune. The Star Tribune interviewed me for this article, but my comments did not make it into print. Here is commentary I shared during my interview....

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