Nathan on Education

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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Youngsters like Kerrie Maleski, Kayley Schoonmaker, Matt Rubel and Will Tully are part of a major trend in Minnesota. They are among the growing number of students in Minnesota’s two-year community colleges. They’ve also been elected as leaders of the Minnesota State College Student Association. National research says cost and preparation for good jobs is [...]

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Sean McComb, recently named 2014 National Teacher of the Year, has given one of the best speeches I’ve ever read about what teachers can and often do accomplish. As he told thousands of other educators gathered at the National Education Association conference: “When those children come through the school doors, teachers are the decisive element. [...]

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One of my favorite family memories is sandbagging by the St. Croix River with two of our children. It came to mind as we entered summer and the Fourth of July holiday – a holiday celebrating the sacrifice and selflessness of others. One of the most important things a family can do together this summer [...]

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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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Here’s a suggestion for the summer. If you care about learning, teaching, schools or parenting, get a copy of “Teaching with Heart,” edited by educator Sam M. Intrator and writer Megan Scribner. The book has 90 brief, one-page essays by educators, explaining and describing a poem that has inspired them. The book contains some of [...]

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“Getting Prepared 2014,” a new report with information about every Minnesota public high school, shows something stunning: 28 percent of 2011 public school graduates took a remedial (aka “developmental”) reading, writing or math course on entering a public or private college or university. A great feature of this report is that it allows readers to [...]

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Fortunately, legislators mostly listened to community leaders and students like Sam Petrov, Cherish Kovach, Kelly Charpentier-Berg and Aaliyah Hodge as they considered Minnesota’s pioneering Post Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) law. After months of debate, and on a bipartisan basis, legislators agreed with students and many community and business groups that families and students need more [...]

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