SIDEWAYS THUMBS: Gov. Tim Pawlenty has every right to run for president in 2010 if, indeed, he chooses to do so. But he needs to remember he still has quite an important job to do - run the state of Minnesota. Residents of this state are growing tired of Pawlenty's lack of presence here as he travels the country to pave the way for a potential presidential campaign. A Minnesota Public Radio/Humphrey Institute poll released Wednesday found that 54 percent of the 750 likely voters surveyed disapprove of Pawlenty's out-of-state campaigning. About the same percentage said they would be unlikely to vote for Pawlenty if he were the GOP candidate for president in two years. Pawlenty told MPR he considers Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney a frontrunner because of his name recognition and campaign organization, which leads us to assume that Pawlenty's top priority might just be trying to pull even with Romney in those two areas. Underdogs do need to work harder to win. Since announcing he wouldn't seek a third term as governor last June, Pawlenty has visited 12 states. We don't begrudge Pawlenty's desire to run for president, and he's gotta do what he's gotta do, just don't forget about us, governor, while you're still in office.
Sex ed money rejected
THUMBS DOWN: More and more, it seems, teens these days are likely to experiment with sex at younger ages. Studies have found that sexual activity among teens is increasing, so it's a little disheartening to see Gov. Tim Pawlenty reject $850,000 in grant money for teen pregnancy prevention. Pawlenty instead chose to accept money for abstinence-only sex education. We need to educate and inform our children about sex, teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases now more than ever. Preaching abstinence is good in theory, but statistics show that more teens are having sex, and the more they know about the results of having sex at such a young age, the better the chances are they will avoid it. And if they still choose to have sex, at least they would know what they're getting into. It's idealistic to think that all we need to do is tell our kids not to have sex. They need to be educated.
Money for schools
THUMBS UP: Area schools will be getting federal money soon under the Federal Education Jobs Fund that will pump as much as $10 billion into the nation's schools- $167 million in Minnesota. It's only one-time money and schools need to be cautious as how they use it to, as Marshall Superintendent Klint Willert said, avoid sustainability issues, but schools big and small could all use any federal money they get. It's especially good news for Minnesota schools considering Minnesota failed its test and missed out on federal monies from "Race to the Top."