Here is your InForum Minute morning briefing for Monday, Oct. 11.



Afghan refugees are led to a bus taking them to a refugee processing center upon arrival Aug. 25, 2021, at Dulles International Airport in Dulles, Virginia. 
Kevin Lamarque / Reuters
Afghan refugees are led to a bus taking them to a refugee processing center upon arrival Aug. 25, 2021, at Dulles International Airport in Dulles, Virginia. Kevin Lamarque / Reuters


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BISMARCK — North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum is calling for closer scrutiny into the federal government's resettlement of Afghan refugees to address security concerns recently raised by Republican senators on Capitol Hill.

The Afghan refugee resettlement program is already underway in North Dakota, with the state slated to receive a total of 49 people evacuating from Afghanistan in the wake of the Middle Eastern government's collapse this summer.

Burgum initially welcomed the resettlement program in North Dakota, but a spokesperson said Friday, Oct. 8, that the second-term Republican would like for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. State Department to respond to red flags raised earlier this month before the program moves forward.

"Governor Burgum supports the resettlement of legal, thoroughly-vetted refugees," said spokesman Mike Nowatzki. "If there are valid concerns or credible evidence that refugees haven't been fully vetted, then the governor would not support those resettlements until those concerns are addressed." Full story here.

North Dakota test scores show depth of K-12 pandemic learning loss

Screenshot of Kirsten Baesler, North Dakota's K-12 superintendent, introducing a list of proposals for closing the COVID-19 pandemic learning gap to state lawmakers on Feb. 18, 2021.
Special to The Forum
Screenshot of Kirsten Baesler, North Dakota's K-12 superintendent, introducing a list of proposals for closing the COVID-19 pandemic learning gap to state lawmakers on Feb. 18, 2021. Special to The Forum

BISMARCK — North Dakota students tested less proficiently in math and English during the 2020-21 school year, supporting educators' suspicions about the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on K-12 learning.

Each spring, students in grades 3-8 and students in grade 10 take the North Dakota State Assessment in math and English. The percentage of students who tested "proficient" or "advanced" in math and English dropped in the spring of 2021 compared to pre-pandemic times, according to data from the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction.

The rate of students who tested "proficient" or "advanced" in math declined from 45% in the spring of 2019 to 38% in the spring of 2021 — a drop of 7 percentage points.

In English, the rate of students who scored "proficient" or "advanced" fell by 5 percentage points in the spring of 2021 compared to the spring of 2019 — from 47% to 42%. Full story here.

As construction booms, Horace hopes to keep small town character

Horace City Administrator Brent Holper and Mayor Kory Peterson have watched the city grow at a rapid pace. Here they stand on the main street that divides the town.
David Samson / The Forum
Horace City Administrator Brent Holper and Mayor Kory Peterson have watched the city grow at a rapid pace. Here they stand on the main street that divides the town. David Samson / The Forum

HORACE — When Horace Mayor Kory Peterson asked residents in a series of town meetings about five years ago to describe the city's identity, the most common response was "sleepy."

But the bedroom community on the southside of Fargo and West Fargo isn't very sleepy anymore, as rapid growth continues to bring the three cities closer together.

Since 2010, the city's population jumped from 2,430 to 3,178, according to the latest estimate, though based on construction numbers, local officials think that number could jump considerably for 2021. The U.S. Census Bureau hasn't yet released official numbers for towns under 5,000.

City Administrator Brent Holper described growth in Horace as being like a "fire hose."

"Every day, something changes," he said in an interview at the town's offices, which will soon be undergoing an expansion. Full story here.

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