joe nathan

“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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Can the Minnesota Business Partnership, which focuses on making the best possible use of existing funds, and Parents United, which urges that more money be spent on Minnesota’s public schools, find things they agree on? Can the African American Leadership Forum, which represents more than a thousand Minnesotans, many deeply concerned about public schools, agree [...]

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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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