Legislative Panel Reported on Education, June 2, 2015 Print E-mail
Written by John Risken   

 

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A frank and lively discussion - This year’s panel consisted of Rep. Jenifer Loon, chair of the House Education Finance Committee; Rep. Sondra Erickson, chair of the House Education Innovation Committee; and Sen. Patricia Torres-Ray, member of both the Senate Education Committee and the Senate E-12 Education Budget Committee.lori sturdevant

 

Moderated by Lori Sturdevant

 

See the video.


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Schools Beating the Odds in Addressing the Achievement Gap PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Risken   

 

 Principals Discuss What it Takes to Beat the Odds

achievement gap logo

 

We recently asked the District Superintendents of St. Paul and Minneapolis to suggest some principals in their districts who are beating the odds in addressing the achievement gap. From the lists they provided we assembled two panels for two forums, one from Minneapolis, and the other from St. Paul. We think each of them shed a lot of light.

 

                          Both forums asked the participants to address these questions:

What does it take for a school to consistently beat the odds?
What does it need from the district and the state?
What does it need from its community?
What changes at the district and state levels would be most helpful?

 

Part One: Principals from St. Paul

 

The first forum featured

Como Park Elementary, Principal Christine Vang
St Paul Music Academy, Principal Barbara Evangelist
Washington Technology Magnet, Principal Mike McCollar
Harding High School, Principal Douglas Revsbeck

 

Watch the May 12, 2015 one hour panel presentation and half hour question and answer session or listen to it on your iPod or mPC


Part Two: Principals from Minneapolis

 

minneapolis principals at achievement gap brown bag 51915jpg


The second forum featured:

 

Henry High School, Principal LaTonya Daniels

Anwatin Middle School, Principal Vanita Miller

Anwatin Middle School, Vice-Principal Lorraine Rhodes

Waite Park Elementary, Principal Cindy Muelle


Watch the May 19, 2015 one hour panel presentation and half hour question and answer session or listen to it on your iPod or mPC

 

Sponsor:  the Achievement Gap Committee

Don Fraser and Grant Abbott, Co-convenors

 

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Workforce Equity Requires Top Priority - Dane Smith PDF Print E-mail

 

Dane Smith complements his interview on Community Empowerment in a recent St. Paul Ledger Capitol Column which reinforces the importance of coordinating workforce training with higher education policy reforms.  He notes that a recent policy brief by the Itasca Project, which includes some of the brightest leaders of our state's largest businesses starts with a clear statement:

"Our regional Competitiveness depends on broadening opportunities for a more diverse and inclusive workforce."  Mr. Smith points out that among 25 major cities, the Twin Cities is near the top in the employment rate gap between white workers and workers of color.  Read about the eight education policy reforms and investments that Dane Smith thinks the legislature should make in "Workforce Equity Requires Top Priority."

 

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The Changing Face of the Heartland, Brookings Essay PDF Print E-mail

 

Preparing America's Diverse Workforce for Tomorrow


Jennifer Bradley, Brookings Essay


The Brookings Institute recently published an essay in which the Twin Cities is viewed as a microcosm of the growing diversity of the United States.  White children under 10 are already a minority in the Twin Cities, and Caucasians in other age groups will become a minority as the decades pass.

 

tipping points when age group becomes minority white 


While Minnesota has traditionally been a more white state than other parts of the country, Minnesota has fast become more diverse due to immigration from a wide array of Asian, African, and Latino nations. Minneapolis and St. Paul have been hubs of refugee resettlement for decades.  Minnesota has twice the share of immigrants from Southeast Asia as the United States as a whole (21 percent versus 10 percent of the immigrant population), and five times the share of immigrants from Africa as the nation as a whole (21 percent versus 4 percent).

Since Minnesota's immigrant population is younger than its white population, most of the future growth in the labor force will come from people of color.  The challenge Minnesota currently faces is preparing its new immigrants for the job market.  Currently they graduate from high school at a much lower rate than the white population.  Both business men and women and educators realize that meeting this challenge requires both high quality education in early childhood and innovative work/study programs in our high schools and colleges. 

Read the Brookings report on the racial disparities in education, employment, and income in Minnesota and the opportunities collaboration between ethnic, government, business, and nonprofit groups in Minnesota present for "Preparing America's Diverse Workforce for Tomorrow."

 

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Transit Travel Time Has Racial Divide PDF Print E-mail

 

According to a Study of the Twin Cities


The Twin Cities’ public transit system has a racial divide when it comes to how long it takes to get to work.   A study by  Take  Action Minnesota, Neighborhoods Organizing for Change, ISAIAH, and the  Center for Popular  Democracy reported that white transit riders, who use transit at half the rate of minority riders, spend three weeks longer per year getting to work than white car drivers.  Black,  Asian. and Latino transit riders spend an average of 4 weeks longer to get to work than white drivers.

 

tc racial transit disparity


Infrequent service, indirect routes, delays, overcrowded vehicles, and insufficient shelter at bus stops contribute to the transit time penalty.

Watch  Bill  Sorem's highlights  and read Michael McIntee's summary of the press conference.

 

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The Rapid Growth of Solar Energy in MN PDF Print E-mail

 

At the Think Again Brooklyns forum last week, Lynn Hinkle, Policy Director for the MN Solar Energy Industry Association, noted that nationwide just 20% of homeowners have roofs appropriate for solar panels. However, anyone can invest in solar energy through Community Solar Gardens in which Minnesota is a leader. In the last five years, Minnesota's solar industry has expanded from $150 million to a billion dollar industry. 


Jamez Staples, President and CEO of Renewable NRG Partners, told us about his program for getting people from marginalized communities prepared for solar energy careers averaging $50,000 a year through combined work and study at Minneapolis, St. Paul, and other Technical Colleges.  Mr. Staples noted that growth in the use of renewables could eventually keep the $18 billion dollars currently sent to other states for coal and gas in our own state.

              The Growth of Solar Energy in MN, Think Again Brooklyns, 4/21/15 - Linda Freemon

For additional information on MN's clean energy progress, see the articles below.

 

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Bright Future for Renewable Energy in MN PDF Print E-mail

 

wind turbine field

 

The Wind Energy Foundation’s “Powering Up Minnesota: A Report on The Benefits of Renewable Electricity Development” suggests Minnesota could supply more than 50 percent of its power needs through renewable energy by 2030 while creating more jobs and meeting federal carbon targets.  Wind project costs have dropped 50 percent in the last five years, while solar prices decreased 40 percent since 2010,  

However, the Wind Energy Foundation's report vastly underestimates solar’s potential contribution.  The report includes only the current 81 megawatts of solar energy in Minnesota.  Dustin Denison, president of Minnesota Solar Electricity Industry Association notes that the state’s new requirement that investor owned utilities produce 1.5 percent of their retail electricity sales from solar by 2020 will add a minimum of 450 MW by 2020.

 

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MN's Remarkable Progress in Clean Energy - Will It Continue? PDF Print E-mail

 


The
Minnesota Way

The passage of the Next Generation Energy Act in 2007 began the rapid expansion of clean energy in Minnesota.  It resulted in billions of dollars in private investment, millions paid in county tax revenue, and thousands of new jobs across Minnesota. How did it happen?

Fresh Energy presents the story of what led to Governor Tim Pawlenty's  signing one of the most far-reaching and bipartisan bills in a generation:

http://fresh-energy.org/2015/04/the-minnesota-way/



Will Minnesota policymakers follow the corporate commitment to clean energy?

Brianna Murphy, Vice President of Shareholder Advocacy at Trillium Asset Management,  reports in MinnPost that corporations' investment in clean energy "is not only environmentally altruistic — it’s a way to boost corporate profitability while addressing the risks of climate change."  (The two branches of the MN legislature passed energy bills that have opposite goals.  The MN Senate passed an energy bill that would increase the percent of electricity produced from renewable sources to 40 percent by 2030.  The MN House, in contrast. passed a bill that would roll back the requirements of the 2013 energy bill.)  Read Ms. Murphy's article:

https://www.minnpost.com/community-voices/2015/03/will-minnesota-policymakers-follow-corporate-commitment-clean-energy


 

Solar Gardens Sprouting in Minnesota

 

John Farrell is a top expert on distributed energy  in our state and the nation.  He has shown how the shift from fossil fuel based to renewable energy can contribute to the economic growth of communities throughout the U.S. because renewable energy does not have to be centralized as do fossil fuels and nuclear power.   Farrell is the Director of Democratic Energy at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance.   He also publishes the monthly Think Again MN newsletter and is a past Vice-President of Think Again MN.

Farrell is  the author of
Energy Self-Reliant States, a state-by-state atlas of renewable energy potential highlighted in the New York Times,  showing that most states don’t need to look outside their borders to meet their electricity needs.  He’s also written extensively on the economic advantages of Democratizing the Electricity System, published a rich interactive map on solar grid parity, and refined policies (like Minnesota’s solar energy standard) so they support locally owned renewable energy development.

Listen to John Farrell's webinar, "Unveiling the Five Pillars of Energy Democracy, " especially the first 20 minutes.  Follow the slides below the audio presentation.  Read his 2014 article "Community Solar Gardens Sprouting in Minnesota" to find out how Community Solar Gardens work.  Read Farrell's recent article "Why Minnesota 's Community Solar Garden Program is the Best" to discover why Minnesota will soon have more solar gardens than all other states combined.   To keep up with the latest developments in renewable energy in Minnesota, the U.S.,  and Europe,  subscribe to his weekly email newsletter at the top or bottom of the webpages for the above webinar and articles.


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Why Is the U.S. Electorate So White? PDF Print E-mail

 

Because Our Voting System Is Broken. Here's How to Fix It.

 

By Stephen Wolf, The New Republic, December 24, 2014

 

"Elections lack democratic legitimacy when they do not reflect the wishes of the citizenry. In the case of the United States, we're carrying a legacy of an electoral system that was designed and built to favor white voters. That it still works that way isn't a shock. What's shocking is that we know how to fix it, and still haven't done so."  Read the article.

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MN's Leading Election System

With Secretary of State Steve Simon

 

steve simon

 

Listen to Secretary of State Steve Simon's excellent presentation on MN's outstanding election system emulated by many other states at the Think Again Brooklyns forum January 19, 2016.  Secretary Simon includes ways in which it can be improved, and he explains why it is important to vote.  He concludes with a quote from a tee shirt:  "Failure to vote is not an act of rebellion.  It is an act of surrender."

Get details on how to vote at http://mnvotes.org

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How Oregon Became the Easiest Place to Vote in the US

By Lornet Turnbull
YES! Magazine
October 8, 2016

 


In January, Oregon became the first state in the country to begin automatically registering eligible citizens to vote when they obtain or renew their driver's licenses or state IDs, completely shifting the burden of voter registration from the individual to the government. 

Read the Article

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