Mary Turck's blog

Thinking big and small about the Winona fire

There have been so many recent floods and fires that medieval philosophers––those who believed that fire, water, earth and air were the only four “elements”––must be in their heavens and hells wond

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St. Paul is a river town

The Mississippi with the Robert Street bridge in the background.

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Believe it or not: U.S. education system is working

"Faith in the public schools has been steadily eroding since 1973. But are things really this dismal?" The answer, according to an article in the October 10 Education Week, is a resounding NO. Despite constant criticism and flagging public confidence, schools and students are steadily improving — and the number cited by MetaMetrics, an education research firm, back up their positive conclusion.

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Convicted of a crime? Maybe you CAN vote

After all the hand-wringing about illegal voting, turns out that many people who have been convicted of crimes in Minnesota are still eligible to vote. That's one of several interesting bits of information coming out of Minneapolis city council member Elizabeth Glidden's early morning meeting September 28 on challenges facing individuals with a criminal record, and efforts to create fair hiring opportunities for those who have already served their time (more on that after the jump.)

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Teen prostitutes and tax dollars

What is the dollar value of saving one adolescent girl from a pimp? What about four, or five or 381? How much are we, as a state, willing or able to pay?

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SAT scores hit four-decade low: What does that mean for Minnesota schools?

SAT reading scores hit a four-decade low trumpets the Washington Post headline. That means one point lower than last year. The average reading score dropped from 497 to 496. Is that even statistically significant?

That's the national average. Minnesota schools and Minnesota students have even less to worry about. The mean critical reading score for Minnesota students in 2012 was 592, down one point from 2011, but up 11 points from 581 in 2002. So Minnesota schools and Minnesota students are far above average, right?

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Minnesota Muslims speak out

Abdirahman Ahmed called Monday afternoon to tell me about an event he is planning for the silent majority, to give an opportunity to talk about the anti-Muslim film and the violent response to

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