The Pulse: Citizens League Issues Scan

"The Pulse", the Citizens League issue scan looks at topics of interest to members of the Citizens League (www.citizensleague.net)

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Friday, May 31, 2002
 
Education. Post-Secondary. Loss of Mark Yudof as President of the University of Minnesota. The expected departure of Mark Yudof as the University of Minnesota President after 5 years will add to the woes of a system struggling for funding and reeling from a series of difficulties in athletic programs. This is a crucial role for the state and Minnesota will be hard pressed to match the skill and energy of Mark Yudof as he returns to Texas. The Star Tribune website story is at: http://startribune.com/stories/462/2872598.html.

 
Energy. Gasoline-Electric cars, according to the IRS, are now eligible for a $2,000 tax deduction for this year. There are currently three of these vehicle models available to consumers in the US: Honda Civic and Insight, and the Toyota Prius. These cars average 50 to 60 miles per gallon, and are classified as "ultra-low emissions vehicles".

 
The Economy. Great North Alliance Annual Meeting on Metropolitan Competitiveness. On May 30, 2002 the Great North Alliance held its annual meeting. The Alliance tracks factors related to global competitiveness of our metropolitan region. Gary Stern, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis spoke to the approximately 45 people in attendance on the topic of "Good, Bad or Ugly: The Future of the Twin Cities Economy". Kathy Tunheim and John Stanoch, Co-Chairs, presented the results of survey findings on regional economic competitiveness. The Citizens League is a participant in the Great North Alliance. The Alliance webpage is at http://www.thegreatnorth.com/.


Thursday, May 30, 2002
 
Education. Better Pay for Better Teaching. That is the title of the report issues May 29, 2002 by the Progressive Policy Insitute on how to restructure the way that America pays its 2.9 million teachers. The report bluntly states: "we should reward teachers not just for experience, but for the skills, knowledge, and, ultimately, the performance they bring into their classrooms. This goal requires that we rethink teacher pay systems to harness them to drive student achievement." The full report details suggestions on providing incentvies for working with more challenging students and for teaching in low income areas. The full report is on the web at: http://www.ppionline.org/ppi_ci.cfm?knlgAreaID=110&subsecid=135&contentid=250543". (14)


 
Education: K-12. The NAACP is inviting states to participate in a project called “Call for Action in Education”. They have asked the states to submit plans that identify strategies, either already implemented or in proposal form, to eradicate racial inequalities in the schools. Also included are factors that contribute to the achievement gaps experienced by minorities. The NAACP has pledged to assist in the implementation of the states’ strategies. 28 states have already signed on to the program, including Iowa and Wisconsin. Minnesota was not included in the list. (Education Week: May 22, 2002). (13)

 
Environment. Making it easier to be green. Interface Research Corporation of Kennesaw, Georgia has posted an updated version of its sustainability report for manufacturers that want to operate in a more environmentally sustainable way. The website offers a toolkit for sustainability for manufacturers. The website is at http://www.interfacesustainability.com. (To view, copy and paste the web address into your browser) (Source: I.D. magazine, May 2002, p. 81). (12)

Monday, May 27, 2002
 
K-12 Education. United Nations Sets Universal Primary Education Goal for 2015. In a piece on the editorial page of the May 27, 2002 issue of the New York Times Amartya Sen, master of Trinity College, Cambridge, honorary president of Oxfam and 1998 Nobel Prize winner for economics makes a strong case for the advanced economies to help attain the UN's goal of universal primary education by 2015. He cites the rapid catch up of Japan based on an aggressive literacy program launched at the end of the 19th century. This should remind us in the US as the country that pioneered widening primary, secondary and post-secondary access that we need to renew our commitment to education at a time when barely half of the ninth graders in our Twin Cities' two core districts finish high school on time. (To see the full opinion piece, clip the following address and paste it into your browser address line: http://www.nytimes.com/2002/05/27/opinion/27SEN.html?todaysheadlines). (11)