Sunday, June 19, 2005

Holy Cow! Holy Angels! Holy S**t!

Nick Coleman's column on Sunday, Private school shows its sad colors, is instructive for two reasons. First, Spottie says it is a good example of why the state of Minnesota cannot afford to turn education over to a private school model. Second, it is a exemplar of a column written by a great veteran newspaperman.

In summary, Holy Angels Academy in Richfield accepted the applications of twin boys from Burnsville for next year's ninth grade class. It turns out one of the twins has muscular dystrophy, and Holy Angels rescinded its acceptance of him because it "could not accommodate him." The other twin, a good athlete, is of course still welcome. In the private school world this is, of course, perfectly legal, and Spottie says probably not all that rare.

The public schools are different. They will accept both twins, and by law must make accommodations for the one with MD to see that he gets a good education, too. At least they will to the extent that money is appropriated to run the schools.

It is also apparent that Nick Coleman interviewed several people for this piece, including an adversarial interview with the school president, Jill Reilly. Coleman tells his story deftly, weaving in facts from interviews. Spottie says the Star Tribune's newest columnist could learn a lot about writing a newspaper column from this one, whether she agrees with Coleman's conclusions or not.

Spottie also wonders how long Holy Angels can hold their breath.

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