Nathan on Education

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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A Minnesota group calling itself “Better Ed” should “know better” than to distribute misleading statistics. Perhaps even worse than the original act of distributing a postcard with inaccurate statistics is an email acknowledgement that these folks know the statistics are not accurate. Here’s the story, along with reactions from a few Minnesota superintendents whose high [...]

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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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Nathan on Education by Joe Nathan Here’s good news for Minnesota students, families and taxpayers about closing achievement gaps and improving high school graduation rates. State data shows dramatically better high school graduation rates for students who take at least 240 hours of career technical courses – that’s between two or three courses. These can be great [...]

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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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A recent report on national and Minnesota college student debt has some surprising and potentially useful information for families. The report comes from the Institute for College Access and Success, a national nonprofit group viewed as worthy of notice from organizations such as The New York Times, NBC News, CNN and USA Today. The Institute [...]

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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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