Well done, RTR
THUMBS UP: With all the negativity surrounding the Chicago school system and all the hype - some good, some bad - with Minnesota's new testing system - it's gratifying to see a small, rural Minnesota school achieve at the highest level. Such is the case with the RTR Elementary School, which has been named a 2012 National Blue Ribbon School. It's quite the honor, as only the schools that are considered to be the most successful public or private schools in the country receive this honor. RTR was one of seven schools in the state to receive the award.
THUMBS UP: File this in the "I can't believe what I just read" column: St. Paul's Concordia University is cutting its tuition from $29,700 to $19,700. Could this be a trend? Or is it a marketing ploy? More than likely the latter, since schools are already dealing with tight budgets. We'll see, but with college costs on a steady incline, it would be nice to see other educational institutions get on board with what Concordia is doing, which is definitely bucking a national trend. Lowering tuition not only helps families with students a couple years away from high school graduation, it also might help universities themselves in dealing with any decline in enrollment. Attracting students is always a highly competitive process, and cutting tuition fees would go a long way in drawing students.
Most small towns didn't stand a chance in bid for grant money
THUMBS DOWN: While cities and towns all across Minnesota kept their collective fingers crossed that their construction projects would get a "thumbs up" from DEED officials and Gov. Mark Dayton for a piece of the $47.5 million grant fund, cities like Marshall were cautiously optimistic at best. Not only was the competition for this money fierce because of the sheer number of applications - 90 in all - some of that competition came from either the big guns in the metro area or some of the state's largest cities like Duluth. In all, only nine projects will get funding; so much for spreading the wealth. St. Paul gobbled up more than half the pie alone, while Duluth got $8.5 million. Only one city in southwestern Minnesota, Canby, made the list of finalists, but it didn't make Dayton's cut. Redwood and Renville counties, however, will be receiving some money for a material recovery facility. Is that enough to make southwest Minnesota residents happy? Probably not. But then again, as we all know, keeping your fingers crossed doesn't mean much.