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Synergy on the hill

THUMBS UP: There’s a lot of synergy going on up on North Highland Avenue, where construction has begun on Highland Regency House. Synergy is, of course, the combination of two or more factors or entities that add up to more than the sum of their parts.

The 50-unit independent living residence is located next to the new Martin Luther College Early Childhood Education Center, where MLC?education students will be working with preschool kids. The residents will have plenty of opportunity to volunteer or be part of the program as they wish. It’s always a good time when you can get old folks and kids together, and when you throw in young adults like the MLC?students. It is also close to the MLC?campus, where the opportunities for cultural events, athletic events and worship will be close at hand.

While the idea for Highland Regency has its origins with MLC, the college has pulled back from actual ownership or management of the residence, but it is still planning on being there for the residents. That’s a win-win-win situation for all.

State of education

THUMBS UP: Gov. Mark Dayton was excited, and rightly so, on Thursday when the 2013 National Report Card came out, posting math and reading scores for fourth- and eight-graders in the country. Minnesota fourth-graders scored tops overall in the nation in math, and 10th in reading. More important, the disparity between white and non-white students shrank noticeably. Minnesota’s black fourt-graders posted the fourth-highest math scores among all black students in the country, after being 22nd in 2011. The gap is narrower, but it is still there. Minnesota still has progress to make at the 8th grade level.

The report card shows there is still a long way to go for the nation’s students to achieve basic skill levels. But the results in Minnesota are encouraging.

Supporting schools

THUMBS UP: It was an off year election this week, but there were plenty of important issues in some communities in the state.

In 57 school districts around the state, districts were asking voters to approve tax levy referendums, and in 50 of those districts, voters said yes. That’s an 88 percent approval rate.

We’re sure there are as many reasons for success as there are districts, but it is apparent that schools have been taking a hit for a long time, and in many districts voters were convinced that the extra tax support was necessary.