"High Achievement always takes place in the framework of high expectation." - Charles Kettering

Monday, August 16, 2010

Did you view any of the Perseid Meteor Showers?

We were so lucky to be in northern Minnesota at our cabin for the Perseid Meteor showers this year. Usually, we go to the cabin at the end of July to avoid colder weather that often sets in up there in August. This year, the Boy Scouts changed the Webelos II camp to the July week, so we switched and went to the cabin in August, when the Boy Scouts have traditionally camped. The weather cooperated most nights and we saw some really beautiful "shooting stars."

While there, I happened to read the bad news for Minnesota and their failure to meet Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) this year and last. Click on the post to see an article in the Duluth News Tribune. In the "more" section on the right, click on "Adequate Yearly Progress results: Duluth and Minnesota" which indicates that the entire state of Minnesota has failed to meet AYP for two years in a row now. This worries me somewhat because Minnesota has been kicking our butts on the ACT for the last few years. In reading, it's in the Native American and Special Ed. populations that failed statewide. In Math, all but one of the traditionally at risk populations have been left behind. Native American, African American, Hispanic and Special Ed. subgroups all failed to meet AYP statewide. Of the 7 subgroups in Minnesota for which sufficient population exists to count separately, only 3 met the math standard this year: Caucasian, Asian and the "free and reduced lunch," or students at economic disadvantage. Only one of these, the economically disadvantaged, is traditionally considered at risk in these scenarios.

In Minnesota, people of color comprise 11.8% of all Minnesotans, but when you break the data down by age, the results are striking. 18% of Minnesotans in the under-18 age group are considered as "total population minus white alone, non-Hispanic." Nearly half that value, only 9.7% of Minnesotans over age 18, fit that description. Wow! This interesting statistic could be telling us that the old white guys who run the show don't communicate well with the people of color who are going to be running the show one day soon. Click on the link below for more info on this.


Other interesting items on the Minnesota education front is that one of the outlying rural districts, the Lake Superior School District, has finally gotten approval to go to a 4 day week to save money on busing and on-site energy costs. I enclose the link below, but to see the whole article, you have to pay $2.95. From what I read, Minnesota has different legislative regulations on hours and days of attendance than Wisconsin, which is why outlying Wisconsin districts don't try to do this. I may be wrong about that, but if this is true, Wisconsin legislators should think about this for our more sparsely populated districts. We went looking for the town of "Cotton" north of our cabin last week. It is less a city than Cookesville, 45 minutes away from any population center. Those kids still have to go to school. The busing costs must be astronomical in those sparse areas. This should be an option. Less days, more hours per day. I know that the parents are going to have a conniption fit because of they have to find and pay to put their kids in reliable day care for one day a week, but something has to give.


Finally, my time with the loons (both family and avian variety) on Lake Dodo has reinvigorated me. We missed seeing our niece Kaleigh, who was busy earning money for her senior year at UM (go Gophers!) and also had hockey cheer practice the entire month of August. We did see Bill's brother and sister-in-law as well as his mom. A nice visit in a peaceful place. Now I'm ready to take on the world at large.

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