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Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities

Here’s the lament we hear constantly from employers in Greater Minnesota: “We can’t find a skilled workforce—or grow as a community—because our kids can’t wait to leave town as soon as they finish high school.” One Minnesota high school—Wright Technical Center in Buffalo—is tackling this challenge head-on. Wright Tech is a consortium of eight school districts in Wright and Sherburne Counties, including Buffalo-Hanover-Montrose, Monticello, Delano, Maple Lake, Annandale, Big Lake, St. Michael-Albertville, and Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted. In 2015, Wright Tech launched a program called Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities (CEO) using a model conceived by Illinois entrepreneur and educator Craig Lindvahl. Students in the program...

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Great Jobs and Inclusive Growth

My apologies in advance if what I write below about a recent conference hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis seems circular.  This is not a slam at the two-day meeting on “Opportunity and Inclusive Growth,” but rather pertains to the many inescapable connections among matters of education, families, jobs, income, wealth and other facts and conditions of local and national life.  Connections, for example, that are implicit in Center of the American Experiment’s major, multi-year initiative, “Great Jobs Without a Four-Year Degree:  Good News for Students, Parents, and Employers.” One of the speakers at the conference, held May 22-23,...

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Legislature Ends Special Session: News on Transportation, Met Council & Education

The Legislature concluded the special session early Friday morning, sending a flurry of budget bills to Governor Dayton. Roads and bridges will get $2 billion over 10 years in existing revenue from automotive-related taxes (so taxes are not raised) plus about a billion in new bonding. This was the big goal. The K-12 bill increases spending by $483 million in addition to $800 million in automatic increases, for a total budget of $18.75 billion (a 3.5% increase). ...

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Teachers Union Urges Resistance to DeVos & “Cruel” Education Budget

The national teachers union American Federation of Teachers (AFT) continues to "sound the alarm” on U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. In a strongly worded call to action email, AFT President Randi Weingarten labels Secretary DeVos as a “public school denier” and someone who “doesn’t care” and is “ill-prepared” to be education secretary. Weingarten then goes after the Trump-DeVos budget proposal and urges readers to join forces with the union and “oppose this cruel and catastrophic budget.” The resistance DeVos has faced confirms her biggest fight for educational choice is against well-funded unions who oppose anyone that threatens their political power....

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Great Jobs for Grads Without a Four-Year Degree

American Experiment recently launched a new initiative called "Great Jobs Without a Four-Year Degree." It's a multi-year project to encourage parents, students and educators to consider alternatives to college. In the process, we hope to build recognition of and support for other routes to satisfying jobs and fulfilling careers via the many options available throughout Minnesota. With the Class of 2017 about to set off on their own, American Experiment's Mitch Pearlstein shared writer Matthew Crawford's wisdom on "Great Jobs" in a column for the Mankato Free Press. Crawford owns a motorcycle repair shop in Virginia, as well as a Ph.D. in political philosophy from the...

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Transgender Toolkit for MN Schools Based on Controversial Obama Rule

A controversial transgender and gender nonconforming “resource toolkit” drafted by the Minnesota Department of Education’s (MDE) School Safety Technical Assistance Council recently caught the attention of 67 Minnesota legislators. The 29 page document — “Toolkit to Ensure Safe and Supportive Schools for Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students” — purports to be a compilation of “best practices that schools can use" to address gender identity. The toolkit is based on a controversial Title IX transgender policy imposed by the Obama administration that is no longer in effect. ...

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Dayton sacrifices children on the altar of government unions, again

Dayton has tanked Opportunity Scholarships and from what I hear this morning, is threatening to veto a very, very generous spending package for K-12 schools because the bill did not fund his signature pilot program that adds a new grade for four-year-olds. I had hoped all that spending could be ransom money to save our kids. ...

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MN High School Yearbook on Trump: “I would like to behead him” [Updated]

The Brainerd High School Warriors are on the warpath against Donald Trump. Several aggressive comments in the newly released Class of 2017 yearbook target Trump, including one saying "I would like to behead him." But when word gets out about the inflammatory comments included in the Class of 2017's yearbook, it may be parents going on the warpath. Brainerd is the county seat of Crow Wing County, which voted overwhelmingly for Trump by 32 percent with a whopping 92 percent voter turnout. (Click image to enlarge) The 2017 yearbook edition just out features a section on Donald Trump's election. Under a heading of...

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K-12 Education Omnibus & Educator Licensing Bills: VETOED

Spending on K-12 education was due to increase automatically by about $800 million next biennium; the GOP bill increased spending by an additional $300 million (to $1.1 billion) bringing the K-12 budget for the next biennium to a whopping $18.58 billion. But it wasn’t enough. Dayton vetoed the bill. The House and Senate also passed a bill to overhaul Minnesota’s overly confusing and complex teacher licensing system. Despite passing both chambers with bipartisan support, the governor vetoed this proposal, as well....

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MN Teacher Licensing Bill Passed by House & Senate, Headed to Dayton

A bill to overhaul Minnesota’s teacher licensing system is headed to Governor Dayton’s desk. The Legislature passed the bill on a 76-54 vote in the House and a 36-31 vote in the Senate. Whether Dayton will sign the proposal or not remains unclear. But why wouldn’t the governor sign the bill? The current teacher licensing system is overly confusing and complex. State leaders are confident streamlining the licensing process will help attract and retain effective educators. And with a troublesome teacher shortage hitting Minnesota hard, fixing a broken licensure system is a long overdue step toward solving the complicated shortage...

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