Thumbs up to taxpayers for the support they gave schools in the latest election.

School referenda to increase or sustain operating funds passed more districts than in the past, according to the Minnesota School Boards Association. Some 55 districts across the state asked voters to approve local property tax funding and three of every four were approved. That’s higher than the typical 51% pass rate.

That’s good news. Despite all the turmoil schools have endured over the pandemic including distance learning, re-opening, closing and mask and vaccine controversies, voters decided schools needed financial support.

While capital projects and bonding referenda did not do as well, a 59% passage rate was still better than the 55% average.

We should not underestimate how much schools, staff, teachers, students and parents have endured during the pandemic. Students, in particular, suffered as they were not only denied an in-person education for part of the time, they were denied the social environment of being with friends and teachers that is important for emotional well-being.

Funding support from the community send a positive message as schools try to get back to normal.

Keeping calm

Thumbs up to President Joe Biden for taking a steady approach toward China that uses firmness without vitriol.

Biden said last week that he is not concerned with the possibility of an armed conflict with China, adding that he’s made clear to Chinese President Xi Jinping that this is “competition” not “conflict.”

Biden said he has made clear to Xi that he must “play by the rules of the road.”

It is a refreshing approach after the saber rattling that marked so much of the previous president’s interactions with other countries.

Biden and Xi are to have a virtual summit in the near future. Biden’s focus should be on agreements to deflect military conflicts while pressuring China to stop unfair trade practices and abuses of human rights. Relations between the countries will continue to be tense, but averting armed conflict is vital.

Collaboration matters

Thumbs up to the new partnership between local health providers and Connections Shelter to bring health care to shelter guests.

Recognizing the obstacles for the homeless to access health care, Open Door Health Center and the Mankato Family Medicine Residency Program are providing health care to shelter guests the second and fourth Mondays each month.

Having the providers come to the site rather than requiring shelter guests come to them should do wonders to improve lives. Making appointments, figuring out transportation, coordinating follow-up are burdens the guests can set aside as a result of the new convenience. Even prescriptions are dropped off at the shelter.

With health problems among the main causes of homelessness, as well as one of the main issues keeping people homeless, it makes sense to make health care as easily accessible as possible to the shelter guests.

Setting a bad example

Thumbs down to the COVID-related duplicity of Aaron Rodgers, the star quarterback of the Green Bay Packers.

Rodgers, the NFL MVP last year, has implied since the start of training camp that he had been vaccinated. He had, apparently, some sort of homeopathic therapy and sought to have the league certify that as sufficient. The league did not, but Rodgers has behaved for months as if he met the league standards.

Now he has tested positive for the coronavirus and will miss at least one game. And the Packers face a league inquiry into their apparently lax enforcement of the league’s protocols.

Vikings fans need not feel overly smug over this. Minnesota’s quarterback, Kirk Cousins, also has not been vaccinated. But at least he isn’t pretending to the contrary.

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