Education commish has work cut out
SIDEWAYS THUMBS: The jury's obviously still out on Minnesota's new education commissioner, Brenda Cassellius, but she seems to have the right attitude to get things done during the next few years. And it doesn't hurt that former Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who sparred with Education Minnesota (a supporter of Gov. Mark Dayton) last year and who became notorious for delaying aid to schools, is out of the picture. Her department will inevitably get caught up in debate about how to best fix the state's budget dilemma and it will be interesting to see how she reacts to that and reform ideas that will come from the Capitol and those that came from the teachers union Tuesday. Cassellius has her work cut out for her and as commissioner she needs to remember our struggling schools will continue to have sustainability issues with a continued lack of state aid, and funding will be a constant battle she will be up against.
THUMBS UP: Some have criticized President Barack Obama for a bit of political grandstanding at a memorial service held Wednesday for the victims of the Tucson shooting, but that wasn't the case. The fact that the service at times had the flavor of a rally wasn't his fault. When you get that many people at an event with the president, emotional cheering and hollering is inevitable; it's hard not to come across as political when you're the president. What's more disturbing from Wednesday is that House Speaker John Boehner skipped the service, reportedly to attend a reception for a candidate running for chairwoman of the Republican National Committee. The speaker did, however, open the House debate Wednesday with a resolution condemning the attack and honoring Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the six people who died and others who tried to save lives.
THUMBS UP: Hats off to Tony Doom, Carrie Stiernagle and all of the volunteers and bell ringers for their Red Kettle Campaign efforts that brought in a near record $17,752.05 during the campaign's six-week stretch. What makes their efforts even more noteworthy is, because of the economy, there were concerns that people wouldn't be able to give as much this year, and, indeed, national trends pointed to a significant decrease in fundraising.