joe nathan

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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What are some key questions arising from the 211-page K-12 education bill that the Minnesota Legislature has just produced? Give the 2013 Minnesota Legislature considerable credit. It expanded long-needed opportunities for many young people and families. But several things deserve additional attention in 2014. Why did the legislature allocate almost three times as much money [...]

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Jack Wickenhauser, De’shawnte Taylor, Vincent Smith Jr. and Denisse Sanchez are eloquent young people. They recently earned awards in a statewide Minnesota charter public school writing contest that attracted more than 2,200 entries. Their essays answered the question, “What was your best day in school?” Whether you’re an educator or parent, I think you’ll learn [...]

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