Monday, 2-18-2002

Sour Milk

Dear Political Diary,

The Trib had a front page story about the finances of the Edison schools parent corporation. They have always puzzled people and some investors are more skittish than ever since Arthur Anderson and Enron.  People are wondering how our three local Edison schools will be affected if The Chris Whittle enterprise tanks. I don't anticipate any problems. Edison is a public school with public financing. That revenue will not dry up. Edison's former principal once told me she could get along just fine without the New York office overseeing them. 

When I turned to the Editorial page I saw an op ed piece by the Teacher's Union President Frank Wanner. He was taking the Trib to task for buying a pig in a poke by welcoming the new Harbor International charter to Duluth. He got a few digs in at Edison but mostly Frank detailed the problems of other Minnesota charter schools. He also praised the Duluth Schools but in doing so he bragged that 71% of our Duluth's school teachers "were at the master degree level."  Level is the operative word here. The master degree level is not the same as a master degree any more than a GED is the same as a high school diploma.

The Trib's article caught WDIO's attention and Sophia Vahamake called to ask me for an interview. It was our Winter break and she couldn't find anyone in the administration to talk to. I told her that I had no idea if the Edison empire was in trouble but that as far as I could tell our local Edison had very little to fear.

The Trib carried another story about the Supreme Court decision permitting teachers to let their students grade each other's papers in class.   Its a common practice and its quick but it does expose kids to ridicule. The Court decided it was a sound educational practice.

Because the Reader had nixed my first column I started working on something else. I selected campaign finance for my new topic and called the essay Sour Milk. I also suggested a title for my column:  "Not Eudora."  Bob wasn't impressed.

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