joe nathan

One of my saddest and happiest days in school was the first day I wore my glasses, in the third grade. I already disliked my ears, which stuck out, and now I was the only kid with glasses. I felt super ugly and hated the idea of going to school. Fortunately, a teacher intervened. She […]

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Here’s some good news, looking ahead to the 2015 Minnesota Legislature’s discussions about improving public schools. Two leading Minnesota Senate Democrats described several of their priorities as similar to those described last week by leading House Republicans. While this doesn’t ensure agreement, it’s encouraging that these leaders share some similar priorities. They include a review […]

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Contacted on Election Day, two key Minnesota House Republicans offered several priorities in education. Democrats are still the majority in the Minnesota Senate, and DFL Gov. Mark Dayton was re-elected, but Republicans replaced DFLers as the majority in the Minnesota House. The legislative process ultimately requires compromises between House, Senate and governor, so it’s likely […]

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Double testing of our high school students is costing Minnesotans millions of dollars. That’s money that could be better spent. What about spending some of those millions on, for example, high-quality early childhood programs? Or on extra-curricular programs? The ACT found many years ago that participation in debate, drama, speech, music and journalism programs was […]

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Money was not mentioned by any of the more than 30 educators who responded to a question I asked about the first month of school. Each of them described the most important things that families can do in September. Everything they suggested is free: helping youngsters set goals, establishing routines, learning something yourself, talking positively […]

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Americans have complicated, conflicted feelings about how much to rely on statewide standardized tests, such as those whose scores were recently released. I think this year’s results suggest three changes. Minnesota should: –Make much more use of highly successful schools. –Share results sooner with teachers. –Use a broader array of assessments. Results for schools and […]

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