Crowded classrooms: Mapping it out

Minnesota has consistently ranked among the relatively low in terms of pupil-teacher ratios in recent years. However, the pattern shown on the map below reveals that even adjacent school districts can have dramatically different average student-teacher ratios. Thus, it is clear that there is no single cause for the variation in ratios across the state; race, income, and basic population density all come into play.


One rural community responds to climate change

Extreme weather brought on by climate change will affect each community differently. Rural communities face particular challenges, as they often have higher transportation and energy costs, and their economy is frequently linked to agriculture—a sector directly impacted by a changing climate. But as we learned at the first Rural Climate Dialogue held in Morris, Minn., last week there are effective community-level options to respond to these climate concerns—as well as important opportunities for rural communities to be part of the climate solution.


Internet fast-lane bypassing rural Minnesota?

The issue of net neutrality has dominated headlines recently, and the outcome of this ongoing debate could have profound implications for the expansion of high speed internet into rural areas of Minnesota. Monopoly power among internet providers has allowed them to raise prices and offer faster content delivery to select customers, creating an internet “fast lane”.


A rural response to climate change

The U.S. Global Change Research Program released their Third National Climate Assessment on May 6; compiled by over 300 experts and peer reviewed by members of the public, climate change experts, federal agencies, and a panel of the National Academy of Sciences, the report details the impacts of climate change on the United States, including impacts on water, energy, transportation, agriculture, and human health, among other sectors.


War on Poverty debate: By the numbers, there's little argument in Minnesota

Minnesota governor Karl Rolvaag addresses the 1966 DFL state convention, with a poster of President Lyndon Johnson prominently displayed in the background. (Courtesy of the Minnesota Historical Society/Jerome Liebling)

“It will not be a short or easy struggle, no single weapon or strategy will suffice, but we shall not rest until that war is won.”

Lyndon B. Johnson


Bill to boost broadband in Minnesota struggles in legislature

In a revealing video about the Internet access problem in rural Minnesota, Annandale City Administrator Kelly Hinnenkamp [above] describes her town's struggle with connectivity. The video is the latest in a series on the Minnesota Senate DFL YouTube page intended to shed light on the critical situation in the state.


Technology credited with rural revival – what if we boosted technology?

Over the weekend the Minneapolis Star Tribune ran a story of rural revival. The article features towns such as Osakis, Jackson, Mankato, Brainerd, Kiester, Benson, Hancock and Morris and notes their progress and growth. Technology – broadband technology – is given some of the credit for progress and growth. That’s exciting and I’m sure that technology has played a role BUT it also feels as if maybe the towns could do even better with more technology or as if maybe we’re being satisfied with minimal improvements when we should be aiming higher.


Transit without a route map

In six counties of west-central Minnesota, residents don't need bus schedules or route maps to get around by public transit. They just call the Rainbow Rider dispatcher to schedule a pickup. It's a common dial-a-ride system for rural transit, but one that's become more efficient and economical thanks to recently introduced software called RouteMatch.

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