joe nathan

As we start a new school year, I recall that there may be few people more miserable than a seventh grade boy, whose voice is changing, in a choral music class – the kind of class where youngsters are expected to sing every day. That’s the situation I found myself in many years ago at [...]

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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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Ron McKinley loved motorcycles, and he loved to laugh. He especially loved riding Harley-Davidson motorcycles around the country. He also was a wonderfully effective mentor and advocate for expanding opportunity and justice. Some of his happiest moments were riding his Harley. But sadly, several weeks ago, McKinley, 64, of St. Paul, died after a motorcycle [...]

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Fortunately, a second medical opinion this week showed I did not need a painful “spinal tap.” Instead, the second doctor who examined me (after I expressed concerns about the first, dramatic diagnosis), prescribed ice on my back and anti-pain pills every four to six hours. My morning’s very sore neck felt much better by the [...]

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“What makes you feel like you matter? What really matters to you?” Those are two key questions that Shane Lopez urges that we ask ourselves and our youngsters in a terrific new book. Lopez, formerly an award-winning college professor and now a senior scientist in the Gallup (polling) organization, makes a compelling case in his [...]

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Families and educators may be interested in a new national report about charter and district public schools. Whether families have one or several of the more than 39,000 Minnesota students attending a charter, or youngsters attending a district, private or parochial school, the report contains encouraging information. However, the study also has important limitations. Any [...]

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A provocative email from a recently elected Central Minnesota school board member included the following: “The world is much different (than) when my parents made their decisions (about schools). I am struggling with how much tax money should be spent to retain and attract students.” Following is my response. Hope to hear what you think. [...]

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