Tim Anderson

Author Articles

At a time when the nation’s unemployment rate is stuck at 9 percent, Microsoft is having a jobs problem of its own.

About 3,000 positions are not being filled nationwide due to a lack of qualified applicants, according to Jane Broom, director of Puget Sound Community Affairs at Microsoft Corp.

As the historic Great Lakes compact made its way through state legislatures, much of the media coverage on the agreement focused on its ban of out-of-basin diversions. But the compact did much more.

In the competition for business and job growth, most Midwestern states fare better than the U.S. average on at least one measure — the burden that their overall tax structures place on businesses.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, 80 new restrictions on abortion have been enacted nationwide thus far in 2011 — a total that dwarfs activity in any other previous year. And much of the activity has been occurring here in the Midwest.

In 2009, about 25,000 Minnesotans took advantage of one of the five tuition-reciprocity deals the state has with neighboring jurisdictions. These agreements allow residents to attend out-of-state colleges at the rates of comparable home-state institutions. Keeping these additional college options open to students requires states to coordinate and cooperate with one another, and this year, Minnesota and Wisconsin were able to strike a deal that will allow their long-standing reciprocity program to continue.

A Michigan law that reduced the pay of current state workers to offset the state’s retiree health care costs has been ruled unconstitutional.

How educated are state legislators compared to the citizens they represent? That was the question The Chronicle of Higher Education set out to answer this summer by examining the educational backgrounds of the nation’s 7,000-plus state legislators. 

According to data collected in April by the National Center on Time and Learning, every U.S. state except Minnesota sets a numeric standard for either minimum instructional days per year or total instructional hours per year.

Tenure and single salary schedules have been a part of the teaching profession for decades, dating back to a turn-of-the-20th-century push for due-process protections and standardized pay for this group of public employees. There is another reform movement afoot at the beginning of the 21st century — one that could be remembered for dramatically changing how teachers are evaluated and compensated, hired and fired, and retained or laid off.

Led by a rebound in durable-goods manufacturing, the economy of every Midwestern states grew in 2010, the first time such uniform growth has occurred in the region in three years. The rise in economic activity was most pronounced in Indiana and North Dakota.

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