A man in Iowa is fuming because his daughters are no longer allowed to shoot at their favorite gun range.

The Des Moines Register says a law “no one knew about” prohibits anyone under 20 from shooting a gun in Iowa unless they’re under the supervision of a parent or instructor. Anyone under 14 can’t shoot a gun at all.

Nathan Gibson wants the law changed.

State law provides no minimum age for long guns. The rationale has been that long guns are used for hunting, and any child should be able to hunt with supervision from a parent.

The bill’s intent was to allow more Iowa kids to safely practice shooting handguns, but the effort has backfired. It became mired in controversy and failed to become law, but because of the publicity, more gun ranges are enforcing the existing law.

Youth under 14 who once shot handguns at ranges are now being barred at ranges across the state, lawmakers and gun advocates say. No one representing the Polk City range could be reached for comment.

“It’s unfortunate,” said the bill’s author, state Rep. Joe Riding, D-Altoona, who taught his own daughter how to shoot when she was 9.

“If a parent wants to involve their youngster in an activity they love, there’s no reason why they should not involve their 6-year-old daughter or their 9- or 10-year-old daughter,” Riding told the Register. “Unfortunately, politics got involved.”

The girls have now posted YouTube videos asking that Iowa’s age restriction law be scrapped. An Iowa politician says the minimum age for shooting a gun in the state might well have been lowered to 12 this year but the Iowa Gun Owners organization demanded the restrictions be eliminated altogether.

Minnesota has a hard time keeping kids in school. In the state’s largest district, only about half of the students graduate. That’s not going to cut it. Ever. That’s simply raising the next generation of poverty and joblessness.

So a story on NPR this morning raises this interesting question: What if college was free?

That’s how it works in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where donors contributed enough money that every student who stays in high school gets a college education. Oh, and this also solves the crushing problem of student debt.

“I think it kind of just lets all the kids know, too, that there’s somebody out here that thinks that I’m worthy of having this education, regardless of my family situation [or] what class we are,” one beneficiary tells NPR’s Michel Martin.

  1. Listen How One Michigan City Is Sending Kids To College Tuition-Free

    April 16, 2014

It’s called the Kalamazoo Promise.

Politico identified the donors only as some “homegrown billionaires” who thought enough about the future of their city, that they gave something back. The Upjohn company, once a leading pharmaceutical company, was based in Kalamazoo before mergers and takeovers wiped it off the map. Locals figure some of the money came from its former owners and directors.

So what happened?

According to Politico, a quarter of the students in private and charter schools went back to public schools. People moved to Kalamazoo. Two new schools were built.

“We used to talk about what shoes we had on, now it’s who has the highest GPA and who can get into what school,” one student said. “Now everybody has the same status.”

In the class of 2010, 87 percent of the city’s 550 high school graduates were eligible for at least some help from the program. By last November,80 percent of those kids had enrolled in college classes.

Most of the kids stayed in the Kalamazoo area.

Many of the rippling effects of the Promise are only now becoming clear. For starters, Kalamazoo is creating better high school students. According to a 2012 study by Timothy Bartik of the Upjohn Institute and Marta Lachowska of Stockholm University, Kalamazoo’s black students have fared particularly well. Grade point averages for black students in the district—which averaged 2.0—inched up .2 percentage points one year after the Promise and .7 points by year three. AP enrollment surged 300 percent for minorities. Principals shortened in-school suspensions. Simply put, “it improved student behavior,” says Bartik. In 2013, six years after the Promise, test scores had gone up on every standardized test imaginable. Meanwhile, with enrollment up roughly 23 percent since the program began, the district’s operating budgets have increased, too—in the face of deep education cuts across the state. Last year Kalamazoo spent $131 million, up 28 percent from the $87 million spent the year the Promise program was announced.

It’s not all rainbows and unicorns, though.

One in three high school students are still dropping out, most of them African American males. The buoyant effect on the economy has been difficult to fine. Home prices are flat.

The College Board today is releasing new guidelines for the vocabulary portion of its test, which many high schoolers have to take to prove to colleges and universities that they are worthy.

Gone are the days of memorizing words and definitions. Context is in.

Time.com says the emphasis will now be on Tier 2 words.

Tier One words are those that kids will encounter naturally as they’re beginning to talk, like mother, ball, cup, food, run, walk, sit or bed. Tier Three words usually teach a new concept, are relevant only in a particular discipline and have one meaning, like isotope or asphalt or even piano. The Tier Two words go across domains and might have many meanings in different contexts. They appear more in text than in conversation, and they repackage concepts a child could understand on a basic level with more nuance.

Here’s a sample of a new question:

The coming decades will likely see more intense clustering of jobs, innovation, and productivity in a smaller number of bigger cities and city-regions. Some regions could end up bloated beyond the capacity of their infrastructure, while others struggle, their promise stymied by inadequate human or other resources.
As used in line 55, “intense” most nearly means
A) emotional.
B) concentrated.
C) brilliant.
D) determined.

By definition, “intense” could mean all of those answers. But in context, there’s only one true definition.

It’s not just vocabulary getting a makeover. Math is getting a scrubbing, too. This is one of the new sample questions:

The toll rates for crossing a bridge are $6.50 for a car and $10 for a truck. During a two-hour period, a total of 187 cars and trucks crossed the bridge, and the total collected in tolls was $1,338. Solving which of the following systems of equations yields the number of cars, x, and the number of trucks, y, that crossed the bridge during the two hours?
a) x + y = 1,338; 6.5x + 10y = 187
b) x + y = 187; 6.5x + 10y = 1,338/2
c) x + y = 187; 6.5x + 10y = 1,338
d) x + y = 187; 6.5x + 10y = 1,338 x 2

The new test will provide four possible answers instead of five. The essay portion will be 50 minutes instead of 25, and the math section is 10 minutes longer (80 minutes).

Oh, and no calculators.

The SAT has been losing market share to the ACT, the Washington Post says.

But the National Center for Fair and Open Testing calls the changes “cosmetic.”

Here’s the entire rollout.