This news blog is an educational exercise involving students at the University of Minnesota. It is not intended to be a source of news.

The article, "Cheating our Children: Suspicious school test scores across the nation," uses large data sets to identify schools across the nation that recorded improbable test scores. I was amazed at the amount of data that was used (and the amount of data that was not included in the analysis, such as small schools or schools that suppressed their data).

I would call this sentence the nut graph:

"A tainted and largely unpoliced universe of untrustworthy test results underlies bold changes in education policy, the findings show. The tougher teacher evaluations many states are rolling out, for instance, place more weight than ever on tests."

What awed me, though, was the amount of statistical analysis that led up to this point. It really emphasizes the fact that writing the story is the last bit of work that takes less time than gathering the information.

I have read about linear regression lines in other classes, but have never touched on it in a journalism skills course. The story, though, was produced by three people, two doing the data analysis and one doing the application. I think it would be very relevant for journalists, and for University of Minnesota students in general, to be required to take classes on data analysis. After reading the article that was written from the data, I have set a goal to try and learn data analysis.


Hopkins High School was the scene of a student protest Friday, according to multiple news sources.

Nearly 150 students at Hopkins High School staged a walkout Friday afternoon to protest what they called unfair treatment of minority students at the 1,800-student school in Minnetonk, reported the Star Tribune.

Last week, prosecutors charged two Hopkins students with misdemeanors following a confrontation in the assistant principal's office. The confrontation arose following student complaints aimed at the school's handling of an incident in which they say several white students mocked black culture, reported Patch.

The school says it responded to the matter in a fair and appropriate way for all of the students involved, reported Kare 11. But many of the students who walked out Friday say more needs to be done, and the walkout is the start of bringing that to attention.

The Minnesota teacher's union has a new leader, reported multiple news sources.

Denise Specht was elected by delegates at the Education Minnesota Representative Convention on Saturday in Bloomington, reported the Pioneer Press.

Specht, 47, ran against current president Tom Dooher, who had been president since 2007, reported the Pioneer Press.

She is finishing her second term as secretary-treasurer of the union, Education Minnesota, and will begin her three-year term as president July 1, reported the Star Tribune.

Fridley: SUV rolls, seriously injuring 7

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Seven people, including a 4-year-old boy, were seriously injured Saturday in an SUV rollover crash near Interstate 694, reported multiple news sources.

Jennifer Teetzel, the driver of the car, was the only one wearing a seat belt, reported the Star Tribune.

According to the State Patrol, alcohol was detected in her system, reported the Pioneer Press.

The other six passengers were not wearing seat belts, and multiple people were ejected from the SUV, according to State Patrol spokesman Lt. Eric Roeske, reported the Star Tribune.

Legislation passed to curb flight delays

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The U.S. Congress approved a plan Friday to eliminate the sequestration-cuts to the nation's air traffic control system, reported multiple news sources.

The bill moves $253 million from other parts of the Transportation Department to the Federal Aviation Administration, reported The New York Times.

Democratic Representative Chris Van Hollen of Maryland chastised fellow lawmakers for anxiously pushing the bill through just before their week-long recess, making their upcoming travels easier, reported The Chicago Tribune. "They will pat themselves on the back and say job well done," said Van Hollen, who wanted to address more than just FAA furloughs.

The Congressional approval of the plan, which President Obama agreed to sign, angered many who saw the cuts in the air traffic control system as the only cut impacting many Americans and a means to negotiate an agreement, reported The Chicago Tribune.

The White House said Thursday in a letter addressed to John McCain and other lawmakers that it believed the Syrian government has used chemical weapons on a small scale in its civil war, reported multiple news sources.

President Obama is forced with a decision after stating many times that if the Syrian government crossed "the red line" the U.S. would step in, reported The New York Times.

The White House said it would need more conclusive evidence, alluding to the faulty intelligence that lead to the Iraq War, reported The New York Times.

In Jerusalem last week, President Obama said it would be a "game changer" in U.S. involvement if such weapons had been used, reported The New York Times.

The U.S. conclusions followed those of Britain, France and Israel, which have suggested in recent days that forces loyal to Assad have probably used sarin, reported The Washington Post.

Minnesotan may be missing in Chippewa River

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Emergency crews continued to search the Chippewa River near Eau Claire Saturday after a person was reported in the river shortly before 11 p.m. Friday, reported multiple news sources.

Around 10:45 p.m. on Friday, campus police responded to an emergency call reporting that a man had fallen from the university pedestrian bridge and into the river, according to a news release issued Saturday, reported the Star Tribune.

Police were notified that a student was missing from his dorm; he was identified as David Patrick Rodgers, 20, from Northfield, Minn., reported the Star Tribune. Witness descriptions of the man who fell match the missing student.

The current is particularly strong with the river just a few feet below flood stage after recent storms and melting snow, reported Leader-Telegram.

A 7.0-magnitude earthquake shook China's Sichuan province early Saturday, which lies on the Longmenshan fault line, at least 155 people were killed and thousands injured, reported multiple news sources.

The earthquake hit at 8:02 a.m., and its epicenter was in Lushan County within the Ya'an jurisdiction, reported The New York Times.

The Longmenshan fault line was also responsible for a devastating earthquake in 2008 in Chengdu, about 70 miles from Lushan, reported The Washington Post. The quake left 87,000 people dead or missing and was seen by those affected as a lackluster rescue effort from the government.

In the town of Longmen, another hard-hit area within Ya'an's jurisdiction, a resident said 90 percent of the buildings had collapsed, reported The New York Times.


Minn. manhunt ends in arrest of stabbing suspect

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A manhunt for a Faribault man suspected of stabbing his girlfriend several times and fleeing in a stolen car ended Sunday afternoon in southern Minnesota, reported multiple news sources.

Authorities said Shane Alan Wilson, 27, was taken into custody was found in rural Steele County. He was covered in mud and suffering from hypothermia, reported the Star Tribune.

According to the Faribault Police Department:

The woman was unresponsive when police found her in a vehicle stalled near the police station, reported the Pioneer Press. Police also found two children inside. Neither child was harmed.

Wilson fled south. After Stealing a 2001 Chevrolet Impala and later burning it on a rural gravel road, Wilson reached the border of Steele and Waseca Counties, reported the Star Tribune.

Authorities identified the charred vehicle, and began searching the area using a canine team and a helicopter from the Minnesota State Patrol to look for Wilson, reported the Star Tribune. They searched within walking distance of the vehicle fire but did not find Wilson until Sunday afternoon.

5 snowboarders killed in Colorado avalanche

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Five snowboarders were killed Saturday afternoon after apparently triggering an avalanche atop Colorado's Loveland Pass, a popular spot for backcountry enthusiast, reported multiple news sources.

Six snowboarders were ascending the pass together when the slope broke away, unleashing a deadly wave of snow 400 to 500 feet wide and 8 feet deep, reported The New York Times.

One of the snowboarders was able to escape, descend to a nearby highway, and flag down a truck for help, reported The New York Times.

It took 4 hours to rescue the bodies, which were all equipped with avalanche gear, including beacons to transmit their location when submerged under snow, reported The New York Times.

The bodies were taken to the Clear Creek coroner's office. The victims' identities weren't immediately known, reported Fox News.