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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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Yesterday’s Love Stories: The Gray Divorce Phenomenon

Originally posted on the Institute for Family Studies website. It was a dark and stormy night. The rain came down in torrents, beating against my windshield, slowing my drive. I arrived at the community center later than intended, but still in time to visit with the young mothers who had gathered to hear me speak. Despite the weather, their mood was jovial, in anticipation, I suspect, of my message about sex and intimacy. Their unrestrained chatter revealed a desire to hear immediate and magical solutions—not unlike most couples with whom I speak, who want to build or restore a lasting marriage. This wasn’t...

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DHS says all-day Kindergarten has reduced pre-school options for parents

I was on the Department of Human Services (DHS) website today looking for some information about refugees in Minnesota. We had hoped to release our paper on the impact of the refugee program on the state budget at the end of the year but hit a data wall. Neither the feds nor the state keeps good data. And much of the data that is available is massaged to hide the costs, the facts. So we are building a model to give you a good estimate of the cost impact of this federal program on the state budget. (Spoiler alert: the feds...

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What Wasn’t Said about Mobility in this Year’s Elections?

Editor’s Note: One of the most important themes in last month’s elections had to do with the many millions of Americans who believe they are stuck in place occupationally and in just about every other way.  Two years ago American Experiment Founder Mitch Pearlstein wrote a book in which a key chapter was, in fact, titled “Stuck in Place?”  It argued that massive family fragmentation (also known as “family breakdown”) had a significant, albeit certainly not exclusive, amount to do with constricted economic and social mobility, along with its resulting frustration and anger.  Jumping ahead to this year, one would...

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Is the Dayton administration trying to prevent PCAs from winning a new union election?

MNPCA is a coalition of home-based personal care attendants (PCAs) who care for persons with disabilities in their homes under a Medicaid program. In most cases, the PCA is a woman caring for a family member though we estimate that about 20 percent are not relatives. These PCAs were unionized as “state employees” in 2014. If that seems odd to you, you are not alone (and can read more on how this happened at MNPCA.org FAQ). Shortly after being unionized, the State and SEIU signed a “collective bargaining agreement” even though all the benefits under the contract must be funded by Congress...

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Decertification Effort Against SEIU on FOX News and Star Tribune

Center of the American Experiment and Minnesota Personal Care Attendants (MNPCA) hosted a well-attended press conference at the State Capitol on Wednesday, October 19th to announce a lawsuit recently filed against three state agencies. They also provided an update about their effort to decertify the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). The event was front page news in the “Minnesota” section of the Star Tribune and got a long, very good segment on the evening news on FOX9 . MNPCA, a coalition of Personal Care Attendants (PCAs), is seeking to decertify the Service Employees International Union’s (SEIU) PCA bargaining unit. The union...

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Trump releases Child Care Plan. Doesn’t the president, even Congress, have more important things to do?

It’s a very silly season, even for Minnesota. We have cities adopting or thinking about adopting laws that tell private employers what to pay workers, how to manage paid time off for illness, parental leave and other conditions of employment. Campaigns to raise the minimum wage dominate the news. The Center will discuss a lot of these issues next week at the lunch forum on the Minimum Wage . The Trump campaign, championed by daughter Ivanka Trump, released its own “New Child Care Plan.” Presumably candidate Clinton has one of her own, along with policy prescriptions on minimum wage, parental leave...

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Little League baseball: Youth sports’ lessons are lasting

Here’s a sports story that climbs even higher than Colin Kaepernick’s backside sinks low. The Little League baseball team from Maine-Endwell, New York, won the 2016 United States championship last Saturday, beating a team from Tennessee 4-2, and then won the championship of the whole wide world on Sunday, beating a team from South Korea 2-1, all in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. I assume I wouldn’t be writing about this if I hadn’t lived only a few miles from Endwell when I lived in upstate New York in the late '60s and early '70s. But I found myself taking chauvinistic pride in how well...

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The Mamaw of All Elegies

After reading an excellent essay about “Two Underclasses” in the current issue of “National Review” by J. J. Vance, who also is author of the applauded new book “Hillbilly Elegy,” one of my first thoughts was that as important conservative voices go, his was certainly emerging.  But I quickly corrected myself, recognizing that he and his voice already were fully emerged, and vitally so. Vance and his remarkable background are coming to be well known in select quarters.  A son of Appalachia and the Rust Belt, he managed to escape disorganization and dysfunction (as sociologists might put it) by way of...

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When Public Officials Read Troubled Situations Less Well than Troubled Kids Actually Read

In a Star Tribune story last week (July 28) about another year of no progress to speak of by students on the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments – with exactly the same holding true with reducing achievement gaps between white kids and kids of color – Commissioner of Education Brenda Cassellius is cited as saying that problems outside of educators’ control such as homelessness and family income are at least partial causes. The commissioner is absolutely right – at least partially.  But what she didn’t say, what people in government hardly ever say (as witness last month’s Republican and Democratic national conventions) is...

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