joe nathan

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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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 […]

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How can public school options help youngsters? Pam Jutila, a mother in Ramsey, has been writing to me since April. She described how her three youngsters have gained from options. Her first note commented on a column about a student who had trouble in a large high school and was doing far better in a […]

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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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Their important accomplishments, a historical coincidence and public fascination with major anniversaries recently produced attention to Presidents Abraham Lincoln and John Kennedy. Within the span of one week, we recognized the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address” and the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination. Leading up to the anniversaries, I thought: How can we help […]

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Congratulations to the many parents, community members and educators who produced a record approval rate of local district referendums. This was a huge amount of work, especially in an economy that is challenging for many Minnesotans. According to the Minnesota School Boards Association, 51 of 59 operating levies were approved. That’s 86.4 percent, higher than […]

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