Christopher Magan / St. Paul Pioneer Press
ST. PAUL — Minnesota's educators need to do a better job recognizing students' unique attributes and challenges and modify their instruction so all children can reach their full potential. That conclusion drives the mantra "See All, Serve All, Support All," at the heart of the new "Reimagine Minnesota" report that a collaborative of Twin Cities superintendents unveiled Friday, Dec. 8. The report is the result of nearly a year's work guided by the Association of Metropolitan School Districts.
ST. PAUL—Republicans in Congress are close to a sweeping rewrite of the U.S. tax code that will have long-term implications for Minnesotans. The $1.5 trillion tax cut bill approved by the Senate early Saturday and a similar bill approved by the House of Representatives in November represent the largest changes to the tax code in three decades. Both were passed without any Democratic support. The bills differ, but would essentially:
ST. PAUL — Minnesota school districts continued to enjoy strong support from voters, who approved tax levies for operations and capital improvements this year at near-record rates. Voters backed 82 percent — 50 of 61 operating levies — on the Nov. 7 ballot. That's shy of the record 90 percent approval for operating levies in 2015, but it's only the third time since 2000 that more than 80 percent of operating levies have been approved.
ST. PAUL — Health insurance sign-ups through MNsure, the state's individual insurance marketplace, are off to a strong start in the first two weeks of open enrollment. As of Tuesday, Nov. 14, 91,623 people had signed up through Minnesota's exchange for the federal Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. Most of those sign-ups were from existing customers who renewed plans or who chose different coverage.
ST. PAUL — After a decade teaching preschool, there's something about working with the youngest learners that keeps Julie Heroff coming back. It's the moments when children find their independence and begin to speak up, to advocate for themselves. "I guess that's what I love the most," she said recently on the playground of Castle Elementary in Oakdale, Minnesota, where she teaches two half-day preschool classes. "Those are the moments that wrap you up and keep you going."
ST. PAUL — Republican leaders in the Minnesota House want U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to reject the state's new plan for holding schools accountable. Rep. Sondra Erickson, R-Princeton, and Rep. Jenifer Loon, R-Eden Prairie, wrote to DeVos and state Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius on Oct. 18 saying Minnesota's plan "lacks transparency and clarity" and will not do enough for underperforming teachers and schools. All states were required to draft new plans to comply with the 2015 Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA. Minnesota submitted its plan Sept. 18.
ST. PAUL — Joe Nickelson and Tom Johnson never thought they'd end up shooting heroin. Dave Baker never imagined he'd lose his 25-year-old son Dan to a heroin overdose. But prescription opioids hooked all three. "It's the devil's drug. I wouldn't wish it on anyone," said Johnson. "It took 10 years from my life," added Nickelson. "I'm not going to get that back." "This drug got a hold of his mind," said Baker, whose son Dan was first prescribed opioids for a back injury. "His brain didn't know what to do with it." Dan died in 2011.
MINNEAPOLIS—Minneapolis entrepreneur Greg Dehn thinks he has a better way to match college scholarships with the students who need them. Dehn has created Kaleidoscope — an online platform to help organizations nationwide promote the scholarships they offer and help students find and apply for financial aid that fits their skills and academic plans. The service is in the process of adding scholarship providers and should be available to students in the coming months.
STILLWATER, Minn. — Delays at Minnesota's licensing bureaus left about 600 Stillwater-area students waiting up to two hours to get home from school Tuesday, Sept. 19. Kristen Hoheisel, executive director of finance and operations for the district, said in a Wednesday, Sept. 20, email to parents that school officials learned just before the end of the school day that bus contractor Minnesota Central was short 10 buses for the afternoon run. The shortage meant district staff had to reroute buses.
ST. PAUL — After making some modest changes, the Minnesota Department of Education submitted a new plan Monday, Sept. 18, to the U.S. Department of Education for how state officials will ensure all students receive a quality education.