joe nathan

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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With racial diversity growing in many suburban and rural areas, several recent awards are especially important. The national Coalition of Schools Educating Boys of Color, online at www.coseboc.org, has recently recognized five outstanding district and charter public schools, including one in Minnesota. Coalition Director Ron Walker has spent 42 years as a public teacher and [...]

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We’ll come back, sadder but stronger. That’s what I’ve predicted in talking with youngsters about the second Boston Massacre – the one that just happened. Acts of horror often have the reverse impact of what was intended by those who produced them. No one should defend any of these horrible acts, committed by cowards. They [...]

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This week I thought about people like Wayne Pikal, Ramona de Rosales, Doug and Dee Thomas, Eric and Ella Mahmoud and Keith Lester. Foundation support helped these “practical visionaries” carry out their (very good) ideas. This issue comes up, in part, because the Minnesota-based Bush Foundation is seeking a new education director, to help identify [...]

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