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U of M Regent Calls on New CFO Frans to Cut Bloated Bureaucracy and Criticizes His $450,000 Salary

The University of Minnesota faces a $166 million budget shortfall as a consequence of shutting down campuses, along with tens of millions of dollars in related revenue, in response to the coronavirus. So the U recently hired the ultimate DFL insider, former state budget commissioner Myron Frans, to come up with a plan to make the red ink go away somehow, someday. He's being paid handsomely to do it, roughly $450-475,000 annually with benefits and other compensation. Frans' plan hinges on the U going tens of millions of dollars more into the red, according to the Star Tribune. ...

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State leaders should seriously consider Special Education Savings Accounts to better serve Minnesota’s most vulnerable students

Governor Walz's recently updated order that elementary schools can begin in-person or hybrid learning starting January 18, 2021 is still leaving students behind. Terry Otremba, father of 13-year-old daughter Addison who is struggling under a distance learning model, was "disappointed" Walz's changes didn't mention students with special needs. Other students requiring special services aren't getting the help they need either. Special education savings accounts would fix this. ...

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MN Social Studies Standards are Under Revision: Here are top 5 areas of concern

The Minnesota Department of Education has recently released the first working draft of the state's K-12 academic standards in social studies. The public feedback and comment period about this first draft of social studies standards is currently open from now through January 4, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. Here are top five concerns about omissions, revisions, and additions to the 2020 first draft compared with the 2011 standards and benchmarks. ...

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Gov. Walz’s updated order still leaves students behind

Governor Walz issued updated guidance today to his executive order that revealed "next steps" regarding schools and youth sports activities, among other areas. But even with these changes, too many students will still continue to be negatively impacted by being kept out of school and prevented from participating in sports. ...

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U of M Faces Class Action Lawsuit Over Tuition Refund for Online Classes

The out-of-control cost of college tuition has been an issue for some time. So it's understandable why many students feel they're getting short-changed with the shutdown of classes and campus life in favor of an online experience that's virtually just as expensive. The COVID outbreak led the University of Minnesota, for example, to close in-person classes and switch to online learning systemwide in the middle of the spring semester in March. But did students get what they were paying for by attending classes vicariously over the internet? A class-action lawsuit on behalf of thousands of students makes the case that the U...

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Some Schools Refuse to Close Despite Virus Because It’s Better for Kids

The majority of Minnesota public schools have closed their doors to guard against the surge in coronavirus cases. But the Mankato Free Press found that some educators in Greater Minnesota refuse to go along with the conventional wisdom that has led most school districts to rely heavily on virtual learning for K-12 students at home. They view cutting youngsters off from socializing with their peers and interacting face-to-face with their teachers as a threat to students' development and well-being that could have long-term detrimental consequences. A handful of area school districts are still welcoming students through their doors while coronavirus cases surge. Their...

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With NAEP testing postponed, state testing is even more important

With the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) tests in fourth- and eighth-grade reading and math postponed for at least a year (originally scheduled for spring 2021), we will not have important national test data on student learning loss from COVID-19 and school closures. This is all the more reason we should not postpone state testing. Currently, Minnesota guidance is directing the state's public schools to prepare and plan to administer all required statewide assessments for the school year. This is a good thing, even if it might be challenging....

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How unaffordable is childcare in Minnesota?

Minnesota child care

Childcare is so expensive in Minnesota that based on the affordability standard set by the US Department of Health and Human Services, that childcare is only affordable if it does not exceed 7% of a family's income, only 5.8% of Minnesota families can afford infant care. Strict regulation, among other things, is highly to blame for this occurrence. ...

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