Education week-in-review: charter schools need more space and more freedom

By   /  May 29, 2015  /  Education, Education Blog, Georgia, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Wisconsin  /  No Comments

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By Paul Brennan | Watchdog.org
From Washington D.C., where charter schools are squeezed for space, to Wisconsin, where more freedom is leading to better results for charter school students, it’s been a busy week in education.
Watchdog.org has covered it all.
Washington D.C.
Empty school buildings but no room for charter schools
For Carmen Rioux-Bailey, chief education officer at the […]

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MN courts order more transparency for schools promoting bond referendums

By   /  May 28, 2015  /  Minnesota, News  /  No Comments

St. Louis Co. Schools photo

St. Louis County Schools have finally gotten the message. There’s a tough, new set of rules for districts that take sides in expensive school bond referendums and use taxpayer money to do it.

But it took five years, a unanimous Minnesota Supreme Court decision and two administrative law court reprimands, underscored by a token fine, to reach this point.

”It is precedent-setting. It’s the first school district, when it comes to ballot questions, that had to comply with the campaign finance laws, if you’re going to promote a ballot question,” said John Colosimo, a Virginia attorney for the district in the latest administrative law court setback.

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Bakken oil pipeline faces decisive MN hearing

By   /  May 25, 2015  /  Energy and Environment, Government Regulation, Minnesota, State Government, Uncategorized  /  No Comments

AP photo

After months of delays, Minnesota got a go-ahead from an administrative law judge to go with the flow of Bakken oil from North Dakota.

The proposed 610-mile Sandpiper pipeline would connect the Bakken oil shale fields in western North Dakota to refineries in Clearbrook, Minn., and Superior, Wis. Environmental opponents have vowed to fight the project down to the wire.

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Land of 30,000 cameras: Minnesota cities focus on video surveillance ‘ring of protection’

By   /  May 21, 2015  /  Local Government, Minnesota, News  /  No Comments

MnDOT photo

Don’t look up. You may be “live” on one of the 30,000 government surveillance cameras that security experts estimate to be mounted in the greater Twin Cities.

Not so slowly, but surely, metro cities and some government agencies are installing video technology capable of networking surveillance systems in a so-called ring of protection — and detection.

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Education week-in-review: Mayoral candidates and Matthew McConaughey

By   /  May 15, 2015  /  Colorado, Education, Education Blog, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Texas, Wisconsin  /  No Comments

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Mayoral candidates in Philadelphia want to end state control public schools, while in Washington, D.C., a charter school founder accused of misusing taxpayer money agreed to pay $3 million to settle a lawsuit. In Texas, actor Matthew McConaughey charged the University of Houston $135,000 to speak at the graduation ceremony, but university officials can’t explain where the money to pay him is coming from.

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Stranger than fiction: Book bike pedals more library use

By   /  May 15, 2015  /  Legislature, Lobbying, Minnesota, News, State Budgets, State Government  /  No Comments

Rochester Public Library Photo

They call it a little library on wheels. Not a bookmobile, but a book bike — the latest twist in the plot to drive more traffic to flagging Minnesota libraries.

The state’s first book bike just rolled out from the Rochester Public Library, and $7,000 in taxpayer-provided grants from the Legacy Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund and regional library system paved the way.

But libraries hoping to follow in Rochester’s tracks may need to get in gear. Legislators are negotiating a cut in regional libraries’ $3 million annual Legacy Fund appropriation.

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