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Biden administration moves to protect Alaska wilderness; opening statements and first witness in NY trial; SCOTUS hears Starbucks case, with implications for unions on the line; rural North Carolina town gets pathway to home ownership.

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The Supreme Court weighs cities ability to manage a growing homelessness crisis, anti-Israeli protests spread to college campuses nationwide, and more states consider legislation to ban firearms at voting sites and ballot drop boxes.

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Wyoming needs more educators who can teach kids trade skills, a proposal to open 40-thousand acres of an Ohio forest to fracking has environmental advocates alarmed and rural communities lure bicyclists with state-of-the-art bike trail systems.

ND makes grade in national report evaluating public school support

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Tuesday, February 27, 2024   

North Dakota is sometimes swept up in national rhetoric about public schools. However, the state fares well in a new report looking at how much it prioritizes public education.

The national advocacy organization Network for Public Education ranks North Dakota first in the country for things such as fending off efforts to fund private school vouchers and prohibiting charter schools.

Nick Archuleta, president of the teacher's union North Dakota United, described the report's findings as spot on.

"We educate every kid that walks or runs rolls or gets carried through a schoolhouse door, and that is our obligation, but that's also our privilege," he explained.

Last year, Gov. Doug Burgum vetoed a bill for private school vouchers. Archuleta said he wouldn't be surprised to see similar efforts when lawmakers reconvene in 2025. At that point, there will be a new governor in place with Burgum not seeking re-election.

School voucher bills have been popular in conservative-led states, with supporters arguing they give families a choice that fits their educational needs.

The report also gives North Dakota praise for providing equitable funding between low- and high-poverty districts. Archuleta said reforms have helped in this area, and he hopes the state takes things further.

"We need to invest in salaries, we need to invest in working conditions, we need to invest in supports for families," he suggested.

He added North Dakota could do much better in the area of early childhood education. In separate findings from U.S. News and World Report, North Dakota ranks 36th in the nation for pre-Kindergarten education.

Disclosure: Network for Public Education contributes to our fund for reporting on Early Childhood Education, Education. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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