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Mar 31, 2015
Over the last four years, thousands of low-income parents in Minnesota have been able to use state-backed scholarships in choosing where their pre-K boys and girls might attend pre-school, including religious schools and houses of worship. A lot of politicians, educators, and other players on various sides of various aisles deserve large credit for creating a program which has not relied wholly on public schools and which likewise has not been under the heavy thumbs of the educational bureaucracy, starting with Education Minnesota, the teachers union. Programs, moreover, which have been certified as strong by what has come to be known as Parent Aware Ratings. Gov. Mark Dayton had been one of the main guardians of this excellent approach, which is a kind of voucher program.
Jan 28, 2015
In honor of National School Choice Week, a very quick review of Minnesota gubernatorial history regarding educational freedom going back to 1971, all aimed at answering the question: What longstanding and telling pattern is Mark Dayton threatening to end?
Jan 14, 2015
Should community college tuition be the responsibility of the federal government? Our president apparently thinks so. I say “apparently” because he certainly could have achieved this goal had he made it a priority when his party controlled Congress. Now that his party is in the minority in both houses of Congress, it’s hard to take this proposal seriously.
Dec 22, 2014
A few thoughts provoked by Bernadeia Johnson’s announced resignation last week as superintendent of Minneapolis Public Schools.
Dec 17, 2014
For most of our history the teaching of history (and everything else) has been a local concern. That piece of our history might well be drawing to a close. What’s even more troublesome is the content of a more nationalized curriculum. Witness the proposed national advanced placement (AP) standards for the teaching of American history. To be sure, it is important that our students, AP or otherwise, acquire some common knowledge about our past. But what seems to be at work here is an attempt to put in place a common point of view – and one with a political agenda at that. This ought to concern parents of all political persuasions. After all, politicizing a history curriculum in one ideological direction at one historical moment will not prevent re-politicizing it in a different ideological direction at a different historical moment.
Oct 29, 2014
At the University of Minnesota’s “Voterpalooza” event earlier this month, the conversation with political candidates centered on, not surprisingly, student debt. With educational loans now totaling $1.1 trillion nationally and the average college graduate leaving university owing $32,500, this new credit crisis should be on the minds of all Minnesotans.
Oct 7, 2014
I may be a teacher, but I’m a slow learner. And while I teach history, I’m sometimes forgetful about dates. Just when did Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor instruct us that affirmative action should remain on the books for another 25 years? I’d guess we’re at least halfway there.
Sep 18, 2014
Creating stable middle class neighborhoods should be the top priority of our political and civic leaders — a goal requiring quality public schools, reasonable taxes and low crime rates. The simple fact is that Minneapolis and St. Paul will not be healthy without a large and growing middle class.
Sep 2, 2014
Mitch Pearlstein Debates MN2020's Michael Dietrich on Education (9.2.14) From Bloise Olson's podcast.
Jul 30, 2014
K-12 education in Minnesota faces many problems. Turning around such dangerous prospects will be hard under the best of circumstances. But to succeed, Minnesota must narrow not just one achievement gap but three.