joe nathan

  Looking back over 2013, I think Minnesota parents, policymakers, taxpayers and educators sent each other three major, memorable messages about public schools. Column readers sent me more than 1,000 comments in 2013. Your messages helped me reach these conclusions: n We’re willing to put more money into education, especially if it appears that additional [...]

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 Congratulations to the many parents, community members and educators who produced a record approval rate of local district referendums. This was a huge amount of work, especially in an economy that is challenging for many Minnesotans. According to the Minnesota School Boards Association, 51 of 59 operating levies were approved. That’s 86.4 percent, higher than [...]

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“We have halls of fame for athletes and entertainers and should afford the same degree of recognition to our star educators and through that channel of the education profession … this is an excellent idea.” That’s how Arthur Dorman, a Minnesota educator, responded to a recent column praising Oklahoma’s Educator Hall of Fame. Most but [...]

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Students Mac Schwartz and Mariah Van Heel and U.S. Sen. Al Franken agreed on several important things when the senator visited Forest Lake High School on Oct. 22. Fortunately, both the school district and the senator are not just talking – they are working hard to advance ideas displayed during the visit. That’s good for [...]

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Wouldn’t it be valuable for Minnesota to honor – all together, in one place that thousands of people could visit – educators who have “had a profound impact on students”? Might people like Donald Draayer, Milo Cutter, Kenneth Dragseth, Mary Beth Blegen, Sandra Peterson, Lesa Clarkson and Megan Hall someday have their pictures posted and [...]

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  Pounding basketballs and children sitting on sofas come to mind as I think about the $40 million that Minnesota has just made available to families for early childhood program scholarships. While the money may be used well, I think it’s too early to describe this as a “major step forward,” as one advocate asserts. [...]

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It’s not surprising that some Minnesota educators are angry about how high-stakes MCA testing operated during the past year and how some newspapers reported results. The rules changed, there were statewide computer “freezes” caused by problems with the testing company’s technology, and one of the state’s tests was much harder. Whether from suburbs like Hopkins, [...]

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