Friday, January 21, 2011

Secretary Duncan Visits Minnesota. Minnesota hosted United States Secretary of Education Arne Duncan at a luncheon arranged by the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce. It's always an honor when a dignitary of Duncan's renown visits the state and it sounds as though his address, while not presenting a rosy picture of the state of education in Minnesota, did outline some areas of improvement for Minnesota and some idea as to where Duncan would like to take the nation's education system in his role as the top education official in the country.

I was unable to attend the event as I was in Mankato at the Winter Conference of the Minnesota Association for Pupil Transportation, but it sounds as though Duncan's address was interesting (and well attended). Not being there, I can't comment on the exact tenor of Duncan's address, but reports are that he was critical of Minnesota's complacency and that he urged the business community to provide stability for the education system and to work to provide greater input into the shaping of education policy.

In a related item, when reporters as Congressman John Kline (MN-CD2), the Chair of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, whether or not the House would re-authorize Race to the Top--the Obama Administration's education initiative spearheaded by Secretary Duncan--his answer was a straightforward "no." Kline has gone on record as wanting to increase the federal share of special education funding and there's only so much money to go around, especially in an era when local, state, and the federal government are all trying to put their financial books in better order.

Below are two links from MinnPost regarding Secretary Duncan's visit to Minnesota.

Thursday Bill Intros. The pace of bill introductions is much slower than it has traditionally been. Part of that may be due to the huge number of new legislators and part of it may be due to the fact that legislators--both new and veteran--may be holding back on introductions, especially those pertaining to the expenditure of state dollars, given the huge shortfall.

Here are the major education-related bill introductions from Thursday, January 20.

HF 163 (Drazkowski--Permanent Repeal of 2% Staff Development Set-Aside and 50%/25%/25% Staff Development Distribution):

SF 68 (Kruse--Repeal of January 15 Negotiating Deadline and Penalty/Companion to HF 59):

Speaking of January 20th Introductions. The most prominent introduction I experienced on January 20th was that of my new grand-daughter Siri Marie Eitreim. Siri checked in a 7 pounds, 15 ounces, and is now home in Elk River!

Playlist of the Week. I'm doing a lot of driving around these days (which I thoroughly enjoy), but I get tired of listening to the radio at times (sorry MPR, Paul Hutner's dire weather predictions almost make me drive off the road) so I do a weekly CD burned from my 40+ gigs of music on my computer. Please allow me to indulge myself by sharing with you this week's 70 minutes of road music.

Track #1: Love and Happiness--Al Green
Track #2: Come Together--Ike and Tina Turner (Sorry, John Lennon!)
Track #3: Call Me the Breeze--J.J. Cale (covered later by Lynyrd Skynyrd)
Track #4: I'll Go Crazy--James Brown
Track #5: Prisoner of Love--Billy Eckstine
Track #6: Last Night--The Mar-keys
Track #7: Lookin' for a Love--Bobby Womack (covered later by The J. Geils Band)
Track #8: Who'll Stop the Rain--Creedence Clearwater Revival
Track #9: Don't Dream It's Over--Crowded House
Track #10: Rockin' Daddy--Howlin' Wolf
Track #11: Tempted--Squeeze (this one always finds its way onto my mixes)
Track #12: Wheels--The String-a-longs (early 1960s instrumental)
Track #13: Cherokee Boogie--BR-549
Track #14: Ain't Gwine to Whistle Dixie--Taj Mahal (great live version)
Track #15: Sowing the Seeds of Love--Tears for Fears
Track #16: And Your Bird Can Sing--The Beatles (Here's John Lennon!)
Track #17: The Innocent Bystander--Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks
Track #18: Lost Her in the Sun--John Stewart
Track #19: Spirit in the Dark--Aretha Franklin
Track #20: Head Above Water--Hall & Oates
Track #21: Rock and Roll Girl--The Beat (Oh, the early 1980s Power Pop!)
Track #22: Pretend I Never Happened--Willie Nelson

Suggestions, reviews, and recommendations are always accepted. I have an FM-soul with AM-ears.

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