joe nathan

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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Here are two pieces of encouraging news about Minnesota’s public schools. First, the state teachers union has agreed on the potential value of yearly teacher evaluations. Second, a just-released report, “Quality Compensation,” encourages Minnesotans to build on success from a formerly controversial reform called Q Comp, which provided extra funds to districts and charters that [...]

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“Keep their minds and bodies engaged in wonder during the summer months when they are not attending school.” That’s what Julie Olson, director of elementary education for the Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan Public Schools recommended last week. She was one of 39 education leaders who responded to my request for suggestions about what parents could do to [...]

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A terrific new movie describes Cesar Chavez, a remarkable American whose influence continues to help Americans – and Minnesotans. Having seen the movie, talked with people who knew Chavez and had a tiny role in his work, I strongly recommend the picture. The movie “Cesar Chavez” was released March 28 and is rated PG-13. Here’s [...]

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Taking college-level courses at his high school was “fantastic,” according to Khalique Rogers, a student at Gordon Parks High School in St. Paul. “Our research shows that in just one year, these courses produced more than $13 million in potential savings for students and families,” according to Mary Olson, director of communication and public relations [...]

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Listening to and learning from educators like Megan Hall, Steve Allen and Bill Wilson reminded me recently of two important things. First, they have so much to offer, not only to youngsters, but also to other educators and those learning to be educators. Second, their skills, insights, experience and knowledge are dramatically underused. More youngsters [...]

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Two of the nation’s most intriguing and one of the nation’s most controversial school reform advocates spoke in Minnesota, Feb. 6. The conference, convened by the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, opened with sobering statistics. While Minnesota schools rank well in many areas, we are 48th in high school graduation rates for American Indians, 49th for [...]

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Important decisions were made recently. Minnesota Commissioner of Education Brenda Cassellius and a number of local superintendents have decided it’s time for thousands of Minnesota families and students to have better information about some key education opportunities. In mid-January, the Minnesota Department of Education posted a revised, updated and very helpful set of materials about [...]

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