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Education

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.
Jun 28, 2015
Every decade or so, another academic “fashion du jour” sweeps America’s college campuses. In the 1990s, it was multiculturalism. That morphed into “diversity” — now such a mantra that students can spell it backward in their sleep. Today, excitement is surging for a new fad, “sustainability,” that’s taking higher education by storm.
Apr 15, 2015
New poll numbers gauging what Minnesotans think about various education issues, including different kinds of school choice, are remarkably similar to two other clusters of numbers I recalled from the 1990s.
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.