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In recent years, both the University of Minnesota system and the North Dakota University System decided to keep out-of-state tuition low. The policy creates more vibrant and cosmopolitan campuses by drawing out-of-state students, many of whom wind up staying after graduation. But there's a difference: The North Dakota system also keeps tuition for North Dakota residents comparatively low. The University of Minnesota, in contrast, let tuition for in-state residents rise at the same time as it dropped the cost for out-of-staters.
When North Dakota Sen. John Hoeven stopped in Grand Forks on Wednesday, he had two messages about aviation. The first was, Grand Forks residents should be proud that Grand Forks Air Force Base made the list of finalists for a new tanker mission. And as for the second, Hoeven said residents should do their best to support United Airlines, which has offered daily flights to Denver since October. In December, the Herald reported that the United flights have not been quite as full as Grand Forks airport officials would like to see.
You're a high-school senior.
Rural Minnesota is losing its influence, reports a new study by the Center for Rural Policy and Development. Echoing the concerns of U.S Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who a few weeks ago noted the weakening in Washington of rural America's clout, the St. Peter, Minn.-based nonprofit says demographics and other forces threaten to live Main Street Minnesota behind. So, what should rural Minnesota do? The answer almost certainly will include this one word: Unify. The fact is, rural Minnesota is not going to reverse powerful demographic trends anytime soon.
Freshman U.S. Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., may be looking for a way to make a real difference as his first term in Congress begins. Here's an idea: If a new Farm Bill passes out of the House Agriculture Committee in the next few months, Cramer should make it his mission to ensure that the bill reaches the House floor for a vote. One of Congress' most epic failures in the past 12 months was its refusal to pass a new five-year Farm Bill.
True, it's anybody's guess where politics and the economy are headed. But there are other measures against which the prospects for 2013 look more upbeat. In fact, there's a fair chance that the new year might fulfill the most optimistic prediction of all: 2013 likely will continue the trend that's making ours the most peaceful era in human history. That's not the Herald talking.
78-21. 77-23. 64-35. 11-7. There are any number of Senate votes that capture the career of Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., who's retiring this week after 26 years in office. But these four are among the highlights. • The date was June 12, 1997; the bill was H.R. 1871, "a bill making emergency supplemental appropriations for recovery from natural disasters," as the Senate records describe it. And when the bill passed the Senate on a vote of 78-21, Grand Forks was that much closer to getting $172 million in desperately needed flood-recovery money.
North Dakota schools remain very good. But once upon a time, North Dakota schools ranked more often than not as America's best. They no longer occupy that top spot; in a number of other states, achievement has surged, while in North Dakota, students' performance has remained relatively flat. That should change -- and Kirsten Baesler, North Dakota's incoming state superintendent of public instruction, should resolve to make sure it does. As Baesler takes office, perhaps she'd like an overarching goal, one that could inspire not only educators but also the public.
Close to 100,000 public schools dot the American landscape. And on the question of how much it would cost to staff each one with an armed guard, estimates range from $3 billion to $10 billion a year. But would this be the best way to spend that sum? No -- because schools already are extremely safe. Mass killings in schools are horrific, but they're also rare. So, all of that money would be spent trying to ratchet up "extremely safe" to "extremely, extremely safe" -- and there's not even any guarantee that the new policies would do that.
Congratulations to the Grand Forks School District for setting up a stronger evaluation system for teachers. Now, the challenge for the district will be to make sure the evaluations count. Education reforms have a way of being long on jargon and short on results. New practices come and new practices go, but judging by measures such as the National Assessment of Educational Progress and statistics about college readiness, too few students graduate with the needed skills. Effective teaching can change that.