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Tribal advocates keep up legal pressure for fair political maps; 12-member jury sworn in for Trump's historic criminal trial; the importance of healthcare decision planning; and a debt dilemma: poll shows how many people wrestle with college costs.

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Civil rights activists say a court ruling could end the right to protest in three southern states, a federal judge lets January 6th lawsuits proceed against former President Trump, and police arrest dozens at a Columbia University Gaza protest.

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Rural Wyoming needs more vocational teachers to sustain its workforce pipeline, Ohio environmental advocates fear harm from a proposal to open 40-thousand forest acres to fracking and rural communities build bike trail systems to promote nature, boost the economy.

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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