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First takes

Years ago came the word that by the time problem kids got to high school, turning them around into more productive ways had already become difficult – in many cases, too difficult: You have to get to them at a younger age. And how young that should be has moved steadily downward, to the point that first-graders at age six could be missing beneficial opportunities because of what they’ve experienced, or not, in the years leading up to that. Which makes the Idaho Ed News report just out, reviewing Idaho’s place in the national picture on preschool (from the National Institute for Early Education Research), of interest. Idaho’s enrollment numbers are among the lowest in the country, and the state lags in other ways as well. The IdahoEdNews report also noted, “And Idaho could remain mired at or near the bottom of the national rankings, at least for the foreseeable future. While pre-K pilot bills have failed to get out of Idaho’s House Education Committee the past two sessions, other states have launched or expanded pre-K programs. This leaves Idaho one of only six states without a pre-K program.”

The approval from the Obama Administration – conditional approval – released yesterday for Shell Oil to drill for oil in the Chukchi Sea in Alaska has enough question marks and conditions attached to it that absolute judgements about it seem a little premature. The decision is solid enough that Shell is moving people and equipment toward the Arctic, where it maintains vast oil reserves are available. Shell tried drilling there before, in 2012, but stopped after environmental issues were found. Might the same happen this time? Might the project be halted, or limited, as a result of the conditions still in place? Or might the effort be improved enough that the concerns about drilling wind up not creating a problem? All of this will merit watching as the project moves ahead. – rs

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