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Is Our Culture Dead?

There was a time when people in certain occupations were assumed to be educated, and educated people could be presumed to know certain things. There was, in other words, a common culture. That era wasn't so long ago; I actually lived through it. But I am afraid it may be gone. Exhibit A: A reporter for National Public Radio--a prestige media outlet, ostensibly--had no concept of basic Christian theology: An NPR report on Good Friday described Easter inaccurately and, in doing so, practically begged Christians to renew charges that the media is biased against them. “Easter — the day celebrating the idea that...

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Education Minnesota tells members the Center is a “group to watch”

It's no secret public-sector unions are opposed to a favorable outcome for Mark Janus in the U.S. Supreme Court case Janus v. AFSCME. But their dire warnings that a pro-plaintiff ruling will “threaten” public workers and “strip away freedoms” are off-base and misleading. Education Minnesota—the state’s most powerful teachers’ union—is telling its members the goal of Janus is to “take away the freedom of working people to join together in strong unions…” Education Minnesota is also warning its members to “watch for” “right-wing ‘think tanks’ and advocacy groups [that] will try to twist the facts about union membership, dues and...

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Obama School Discipline “Guidance” To Be Revoked

At the New York Post, Paul Sperry reports that the Trump administration's Departments of Education and Justice will revoke the Obama administration's infamous "guidance" on race quotas in school discipline: Federal Education Department officials told the Post the guidance, known as the “2014 Dear Colleague letter,” will be rescinded this year, but only after drafting another rule to replace it. The substitute guidance will make it clear that the government will no longer rely on the disputed legal theory known as “disparate impact,” which Obama investigators used to threaten school districts with discrimination charges. “Just withdrawing the letter without replacing it with...

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Katherine Kersten responds to Comm. Cassellius’s Counterpoint in today’s Star Tribune

Minnesota Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius is the latest to weigh in with a Star Tribune counterpoint denouncing my recent op-ed, “Undisciplined: Chaos may be coming to Minnesota classrooms, by decree.” Like other counterpoint authors, she refuses to engage me on the facts or to use logical argument to expose supposed fallacies in my work. Instead, she demands imperiously that my voice be silenced, on grounds that I am a “flat-out racist”—i.e., someone who dares to disagree with her about school discipline policies. Cassellius attempts to bully the Star Tribune into no longer publishing my work, so the people of Minnesota can’t read...

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Violence at Edina High School

When a high school slides downhill from pre-eminence to mediocrity, one symptom is violence. A school that no longer stands for high standards has a harder time maintaining control over its more unruly students. Such violence may be racial in nature, but that shouldn't be a surprise in a school where students have been taught from kindergarten that the most important thing about them is the color of their skin, and that members of some races are relentlessly oppressed in 21st century America--even the ones privileged enough to attend, for example, Edina High School. A school whose highest purpose is...

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Katherine Kersten responds to the TWO Counterpoints aimed at her in today’s Star Tribune

The Star Tribune has published two counterpoints to my March 18 op-ed on the racial discipline gap in Minnesota schools [“Undisciplined: Chaos may be coming to Minnesota classrooms by decree.”] The authors don’t put much stock in facts or logical argument—name-calling is so much easier. But then, we’ve come to expect that. [Star Tribune illustration.] The first counterpoint [“False claims and dog whistles in KK’s commentary on school discipline”] was written by Julia Hill, a reading teacher in the St. Paul Public Schools, and Dana Bennis, “director of learning” at an organization called “the Institute for Democratic Education in America.” These...

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Community and Technical Colleges Tweak Programs to Meet Labor Demand

How do community and technical colleges decide what programs to offer to meet the labor market’s needs most effectively? Two college presidents recently offered their insights in MinnPost. Rich Wagner, Dunwoody College of Technology president, and Rassoul Dastmozd, St. Paul College president, both say that their institutions have strong connections with public schools, employers, and community partners. But they also watch the labor market closely themselves and tweak their programs to prepare students for the jobs of the future....

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Undisciplined: Chaos may be coming to Minnesota classrooms, by decree

A state agency aims to eliminate racial disparities in schools' response to misbehavior. Its destabilizing course would only spread the disruption.  This commentary originally appeared in the Star Tribune as their Sunday opinion section cover on March 18, 2018. [Star Tribune illustration.] Brace yourself, parents of Minnesota. Here’s what’s coming soon to a school near you: increased violence, brazen challenges to teachers’ authority and a chaotic environment where learning is an uphill battle. Teachers who try to exert control will find their hands tied, and some kids — no longer accountable for their behavior — will feel free to provoke mischief and...

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