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Education

Jan 26, 2016
School Choice in Minnesota: Panel at Humphrey School (1.26.16) Panel includes Ember Reichgott Junge (former Minnesota DFL State Senator, Richard Komer (Institute for Justice), Rep. Jenifer Loon, Minnesota House (R) moderated by Beth Hawkins, former MinnPost reporter.
Jan 6, 2016
One of the toughest chores in comprehending and critiquing American education is getting the balance right between focusing on the weaknesses of schools versus those of families and students. In a handful of words, I would argue that the right balance goes something like this: While student shortcomings of various kinds are often correctly seen as bigger factors in their poor performances than the far-from-perfect schools they attend, this does not mean that other kinds of schools can’t help many of them learn measurably more, because they can.
Dec 9, 2015
Article IV of the Minnesota Constitution authorizes the governor to call the state legislature into special session “on extraordinary occasions.” Gov. Mark Dayton, citing the need to “address the serious disparities affecting Minnesotans of color,” wants to summon legislators back to St. Paul soon for such a special assembly. While it is doubtful how much meaningful progress can be made in tackling the North Star State’s shameful racial disparities during a brief, out-of-season session of the legislature, the governor is right that this is indeed an “extraordinary” problem in need of immediate attention.
Dec 6, 2015
In recent weeks, college campuses across the country have been home to some troubling scenes — and demands. The common denominator in virtually all of them has been race.
Nov 9, 2015
When people say they believe a particular institution is racist, or are convinced that they, their children or others have been treated unfairly for reasons of color — by educators or the police or anyone else — I’m in no position to disagree with what’s in their hearts. My history is not theirs; their shoes are not mine, and if that is what they sincerely believe, that is what they sincerely believe.
Oct 1, 2015
Minneapolis Public Schools had one of its board meetings interrupted and closed down prematurely Tuesday night by protesters objecting to a book for little kids which had an American Indian character named “Neiko, the Hunting Girl” and an African American character named “Lazy Lucy.” School officials readily agreed with protesters that the two characters are unacceptable in their stereotyping and that the book wouldn’t be used, but they disagreed about ending all ties to the Utah-based publisher.
Aug 27, 2015
A number of years ago (a dozen actually), Rick Hess, one of the nation’s most insightful and prolific education scholars, wrote an essay for American Experiment titled, “‘Trust Us,’ They Explained: Racial Distrust and School Reform.” The reason for recalling it has to do with a recent editorial in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, a venerable newspaper in the African American community in the Twin Cities and beyond, that spoke (let’s just say) poorly about the Center’s efforts and those of another local organization, Better Ed, to increase educational options for all children, but especially low-income children. Which is to say, disproportionately minority boys and girls.
Jul 31, 2015
Another year of tepid-to-lousy Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment results in which key players, once again, have studiously steered clear from saying and asking what cries to be said and asked, with two omissions above others.
Jul 21, 2015
Years ago I decided to try sprucing up my American history classes by becoming various figures in American history. One of my first sprucer-uppers was that American original, journalist H.L. Mencken. Now that I’m near the end of my teaching days, a soon-to-be retired “Mr. Mencken” will have to be content with sprucing me up.