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Educating a State


Sun, Dec 24th, 2000
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Monday, December 25, 2000

What are our educational problems? There is no such thing as a perfect school, but we can try to get as close as we can. Minnesota has many education problems in its system, some of which were addressed at an open forum held in the Lanesboro School library on Wednesday, December 13th. The forumís guest speaker was Lieutenant Governor Mae Schunk. Everyone was able to voice their opinion about what a perfect school in Southeast Minnesota would be like. The group determined that people have many answers for the stateís problems, but no real solutions.

Mrs. Schunk introduced herself as a Minnesota school teacher of thirty-seven years. She recently ended this position while campaigning with Governor Jesse Ventura. Now that she is lieutenant governor, she has vowed to visit every school district in the state in an effort to improve the stateís education programs as a whole. Schunk commented, "Itís important to come and take your messages back to the Capitol, to the people there who can make a difference in our education."

Schunk has described this goal as "fixing schools." How does she plan to do this? Working with legislators and other state officials, Schunk has been lobbying for smaller class sizes and improving reading and analysis skills in kindergarten through third grades through these smaller class sizes. She has also been aiming to improve basic reading and math skills in the commonly overcrowded middle and high schools.

Many people, however, believe the way to improve education in our rural schools is to equalize funding. It is almost impossible to have equal funding among all districts in the state, but there is a definite pattern. Metro schools receive more funding than rural Minnesota districts, to which Schunk responds, "No, its not fair." Lanesboro Superintendent Rick Lamon commented that "The (state funding) system is complex and unnecessarily difficult." So what is so difficult about this system? Each school is awarded different amounts of state funding based on a formula composed of a base dollar amount, compensatory funding, transportation funding, plus their referendum taxes, in addition to several other factors. The point behind this is that some schools are receiving a mere $5,301 dollars per student per year, while other schools like Bellview, Nett Lake, and other schools in and around Indian reservations are reaping a grand total of $9,600 and more. Lanesboro is receiving $6,232 .....
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Simply to be trusted by a shy wild creature enhances one's self-respect. -Alexander Skutch

Sun, Dec 24th, 2000
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Monday, Decmber 25, 2000

Alexander Skutch is one of the great naturalists of our time. Almost seventy years ago, he went to Central America to study plants, but the tropical birds there quickly captured most of his attention. For ten years, he ..... 
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Bird Brains

Sun, Dec 24th, 2000
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Monday,December 11, 2000

While some may beg to disagree, I believe most birds are smart, real smart. Far more intelligent, in fact, than science ever gives them credit for. Unlike many ornithologists (bird scientists) who evaluate avian though ..... 
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Escape from America

Sun, Dec 24th, 2000
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Monday, December 11, 2000

I guess Iím a snowbird at heart because every year about this time, once the temperature dips below zero and looks like itís going to stay there awhile, I start yearning to go south. Way south. All the way down to Ecu ..... 
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The Cold Finger of Christmas

Sun, Dec 24th, 2000
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Monday, December 18, 2000

One afternoon, when our youngest son was even younger, he came in from playing in the snow. He tugged off his snow armor, creating small snowdrifts on the floor as he did so. He kicked his boots into a corner and walk ..... 
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Morning meditations

Sun, Dec 24th, 2000
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Monday, December 25, 2000

The windmill stands tall in the farm yard, the remnants of last yearís morning glories still clinging to its iron works

The windmill is the first thing I see when I leave the house in the morning. On some mor ..... 
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Sun, Dec 24th, 2000
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Sun, Dec 24th, 2000
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Sun, Dec 24th, 2000
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