Grand Forks Herald
What scale will school districts be using to report K-12 students’ performance on this year’s assessment tests? One to 100? Traditional letter grades? Well, if it’s the latter, then the...
Grand Forks Herald Given the Democrats and Republicans’ mutual loathing in Washington, how many results do you suppose would show up in a Google search of “bipartisan prison reform”? Ten,...
Hey, there are some pretty good names on the "consideration" list for University of North Dakota's new nickname. There also are some pretty good names on the "non-consideration" list.
The U.S. Department of Transportation's new rail-safety rules are welcome. It's also reassuring to see the rules — which were announced Friday — get attacked from both sides, with environmentalists saying they're too easy and rail-industry officials saying they're too tough. That's not proof of the rules' even-handedness. But it's a strong suggestion that the rule-makers are on the right track. However, one vital point of national confusion remains.
In one key way, Grand Forks lucked out with its monster flood. The city had the great good fortune to flood in 1997, not 1987 or 2007. And the timing made all the difference, because America had a balanced budget, Bill Clinton was president, and the North Dakota congressional delegation had the president and Congress' ear. The federal aid that resulted left Grand Forks much better off. Now, 2015 is no 1997, as far as the federal budget goes.
On the issue of rail safety, here's the key figure for North Dakotans and Minnesotans to remember: "In 2008, only 9,500 rail carloads were shipped to U.S. refineries," as Michael Kraft of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay has written. "By 2014, that number had soared to more than 400,000, or 42 times as much." This gigantic increase in the shipping of a North Dakota product represents a fantastic boost for the regional economy, as valley residents know. But it also represents a lot more stress on North Dakota's rail infrastructure.
Why do people obey the law? For two big reasons, human experience shows: First, to "do right"—to be a good person, in other words. Religion, civic duty and a desire to be a good example for one's children are among the motivators for this response. Second, to avoid punishment. Which brings us to the wildfires along Interstate 29 last week. If society wants people to be careful with fire and other potentially dangerous tools, it has to punish people who are extremely careless with them.
"This intuitive understanding of the benefits of early childhood education is supported by a wealth of social and medical research," writes North Dakota's state superintendent of public instruction on this page. Counters the president of the North Dakota Family Alliance, "but countless studies confirm the 'fade-out' effect of preschool programs by the end of the third grade." Who's right? Well, that's not clear.
If civics teachers in North Dakota high schools need a new case study for "How a bill becomes law," they could do worse than House Bill 1328. The bill, recently passed by the North Dakota Legislature, puts some limits on police officers' use of drones. But that's just a shorthand summary. In full, the bill represents a classic scenario of competing interests, passionate arguments and hard-fought compromise. The negotiating proved so difficult that it took two legislative sessions to complete.
One hundred and fifty years ago, Ulysses S. Grant accepted Robert E. Lee's surrender in the village of Appomattox Court House. And while the action marked the end of the divisive Civil War, it marked the start of a unifying tradition: the tradition of generosity in victory. Now, a century-and-a-half later, that's a tradition supporters of gay rights should consider returning to.