Tag Archives | Minnesota

Another Unethical For-Profit College Brought to Light

Students, parents, and all-around consumers and taxpayers are growing increasingly skeptical of the dubious for-profit college model that promises valuable degrees (and ultimately, jobs) but instead leave students with crippling debt and few career options upon graduation. Rising public scrutiny in the wake of lawsuits concerning predatory loans, lack of job placement assistance, misleading recruitment claims, and deceptive financial aid activities have begun to have an effect on this industry’s worst offenders. EDMC (parent company of the Art Institutes) was sued until their stock dropped so far they eventually delisted from the NASDAQ last November, while Corinthian Colleges is selling off or shutting down campuses as it faces lawsuits and investigations from multiple state and federal agencies.

At the Huffington Post, Kyle McCarthy writes about another culprit: Globe University and the Minnesota School of Business (MSB), part of the Globe Education Network responsible for more than 30 for-profit colleges with sky-high tuition, outrageous debt, low graduation rates, high default rates, and more than their share of dirty laundry.… Read the rest

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New Analysis Shatters Narrative of Charter School Success

A 2010 protest in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo: Fibonacci Blue/flickr/cc)

A 2010 protest in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo: Fibonacci Blue/flickr/cc)

Deirdre Fulton writes at Common Dreams:

Public schools are outperforming charter schools in Minnesota, in some cases “dramatically,” according to a new analysis by the state’s Star-Tribune newspaper.

In addition, many charter schools fail to adequately support minority students, close examination of the data revealed.

Journalist Kim McGuire looked at 128 of the state’s 157 charter schools and found “that the gulf between the academic success of its white and minority students widened at nearly two-thirds of those schools last year. Slightly more than half of charter schools students were proficient in reading, dramatically worse than traditional public schools, where 72 percent were proficient.”

Between 2011 and 2014, McGuire reported, 20 charter schools failed to meet the state’s expectations for academic growth each year, “signaling that some of Minnesota’s most vulnerable students had stagnated academically.”

Charlene Briner, the Minnesota Department of Education’s chief of staff, told the newspaper that she was troubled by the information, “which runs counter to ‘the public narrative’ that charter schools are generally superior to public schools.”

“Minnesota is the birthplace of the charter school movement and a handful of schools have received national acclaim for their accomplishments, particularly when it comes to making strong academic gains with low-income students of color,” the Star-Tribune claims.

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Puzzling Moose Deaths Hint At Climate Shock To Forests

It appears that it’s not just the bees, frogs, and other reptiles that are at risk of dying off.

via New Scientist

Moose in the northern US are dying in what could be the start of a huge climate shock to the world’s boreal forests.

The die-off is most dire in Minnesota, where ecologists say moose could be gone within a decade. But it extends across the southern edge of the animal’s global range – populations are falling as far away as Sweden.

“It’s broader than I thought when I started looking into it,” says Ron Moen of the University of Minnesota Duluth, who will present a survey of North American moose populations at the Moose Health conference in Uppsala, Sweden, this week.

No single cause seems to be responsible across all regions. In Minnesota, many moose seem to be dying of parasitic worms called liver flukes; in Wyoming, some researchers are pointing to a worm that blocks the moose’s carotid arteries; in New Hampshire, massive tick infections seem to be the culprit.

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Endocrine Disruptors from Personal Care Products Found in Statewide Survey of Minnesota’s Rivers and Lakes

Via ScienceDaily:

A science team from Arizona State University, in collaboration with federal partners, has completed the first statewide analysis of freshwater bodies in Minnesota, finding widespread evidence of the presence of active ingredients of personal care products in Minnesota lakes, streams and rivers.

These products are a billion dollar industry and can be found in antimicrobial soaps, disinfectants, and sanitizers to scrub our hands and clean countertops. Hundreds of antimicrobial products are sold in the U.S., many marketed with efficacy claims that remain elusive due to the short duration of the average consumer’s handwashing practices. The fate of these products can be traced from home use to sewers to wastewater treatment plants to eventually, downstream bodies of water.

The research team focused on two active ingredients found prominently in anti-bacterial soaps — triclosan and triclocarban — which have come under scrutiny by the EPA and FDA due to their environmental and human health concerns.

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Minnesota School Board Interferes With Senior’s Porn Star Prom Date

Mike StoneWhat a little genius. USA Today says:
A Minnesota school district has quashed a high school's senior plan to bring a porn star to his senior prom. Mike Stone, 18, had tweeted hundreds of porn actresses with an invitation to the Tartan High School prom May 12 until adult film star Megan Piper accepted his proposal. Piper tells KSTP-TV's Mark Saxenmeyer that she missed her own prom and couldn't turn down Stone's invitation. "It was a sweet gesture. It was so cute. I couldn't say no," she tells the Twin Cities TV station. The adult film star adds that she had no intention of turning the evening into a sordid spectacle: "I don't plan to show up butt naked or anything. I'm going to wear a pretty prom dress."
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The Little Lama from Columbia Heights, Minnesota

SamsaraAllie Shah writes in the Star Tribune:
It's morning time and a little boy with a shaved head and a face shaped like the moon chants a Tibetan prayer. His high-pitched voice echoes inside the Columbia Heights bedroom that his father has transformed into a lavish prayer room. In here, the 4-year-old forsakes his cartoons and toys to study scripture and learn to pray the Buddhist way. Big for his age, he looks bigger still perched on an ornate chair draped in crimson and saffron robes. "Only for lamas," explains his father, Dorje Tsegyal, sitting cross-legged on the floor at his son's feet. Jalue Dorjee, you see, is believed to be no ordinary boy.
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Minneapolis Pays Zombies To Settle Undead Lawsuit

I always expected zombie attacks to be deadly, not informative. These Twin Cities zombies roamed the streets making a statement about the physical aspect of interaction that has been lost with the digital age and the culture of consumerism. Not only did their statement get heard, they profited from it too. Star Tribune reports:

The Minneapolis city attorney’s office has decided to pay seven zombies and their attorney $165,000.

The payout, approved by the City Council on Friday, settles a federal lawsuit the seven filed after they were arrested and jailed for two days for dressing up like zombies in downtown Minneapolis on July 22, 2006, to protest “mindless” consumerism.

When arrested at the intersection of Hennepin Avenue and 6th Street N., most of them had thick white powder and fake blood on their faces and dark makeup around their eyes. They were walking in a stiff, lurching fashion and carrying four bags of sound equipment to amplify music from an iPod when they were arrested by police who said they were carrying equipment that simulated “weapons of mass destruction.”

However, they were never charged with any crime.

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