joe nathan

As we start a new year, it’s time to ask some tough questions. Over the past year, I have seen more and more examples of education systems that don’t seem to be serving at least some students. Some systems seem to be putting a priority on protecting the way things used to be, above the [...]

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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: –We’re willing to put more money into education, especially if it appears that additional funds will [...]

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“I think it is vitally important to have the ‘Getting Prepared Report’ updated in 2014, given the push we did this legislative session to advance early college opportunities for all secondary students.” That’s what Rep. Carlos Mariani, DFL-St. Paul and chair of the Minnesota House K-12 Education Policy Committee, told me this week. State law [...]

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Local field trips for students are common, but not so much for teachers. But a Minnesota school recently took its teachers around neighborhoods they serve to help them understand more about their students and families. The ultimate goal is more student success. Many of the students at Academia Cesar Chavez, or their parents, come from [...]

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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. Give [...]

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What does it take to help students from low-income families succeed? One hundred thirty-one Minnesota district and charter public schools have just earned an important state award because they have answers. They have earned the Minnesota Department of Education designation of “reward schools.” Brenda Cassellius, Minnesota commissioner of education, released information this week showing that [...]

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