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Teacher’s Lawsuit Against St. Paul School District Moves Forward

A lawsuit seeking to hold the St. Paul Public School District—and its students—accountable will proceed in court to the evidence gathering stage, according to the Pioneer Press. Aaron Benner says district administrators opened dubious personnel investigations against him because he publicly criticized the district’s lenient disciplinary practices toward African-American students....

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A Curriculum of Political Indoctrination in Edina’s Public Schools

  An investigation by writer Katherine Kersten released today exposes systematic political indoctrination of students in Edina public schools, beginning as early as kindergarten, all while the district’s long time reputation for academic excellence experiences a notable decline. The report, “Whose Values? Educational excellence threatened by ideology in Edina schools” appears in the Fall 2017 edition of Thinking Minnesota, the quarterly magazine published by Center of the American Experiment. Kersten, a writer and attorney, is a senior policy fellow at American Experiment. Here is the article; you can read it here or download it: TM Fall2017 Edina 1 by John...

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Best Serving the Interests of Students, Not the Bureaucratic Convenience of Grown-Ups

My American Experiment colleague Catrin Thorman was on-target when she concluded her recent blog about a three-part series in the Star Tribune regarding public school choice in the Twin Cities.  “The pressures school choice is putting on Minnesota public schools,” she wrote, “is not a bad thing.  It creates a competitive environment that pushes low-performing districts to improve so they keep and attract students who have the chance to go elsewhere.  Educational freedom means families – not zip codes – choose where their children attend school.” A couple of complementary points, if I might. Just in case a younger generation of critics...

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Schools That Focus on Indoctrination Rather than Education Pay a Price

We have written here, here and here about the extraordinary extent to which the Edina public schools have prioritized left-wing indoctrination over academic excellence. On Monday, the Center will release the Fall issue of Thinking Minnesota, featuring a cover story on the Edina public schools by Kathy Kersten. Watch for it! Has Edina's focus on politics rather than academics hurt the school system's students? Here is just one fact from Kathy's blockbuster story: between the 2013-2014 school year and the 2016-2017 school year, Edina High School dropped from 10th place among Minnesota's high schools in math proficiency, to 40th place. I...

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Center Study: Minnesotans Without College Degrees Often Out-Earn Four-Year College Grads

Conventional wisdom has it that young people starting out in life need a four-year college degree to succeed. But a new Center of the American Experiment study (download here) concludes that Minnesotans who choose a two-year degree, apprenticeship or occupational certificate often do better financially on average than their college-educated peers. The study--No Four-Year Degree Required: A Look at a Selection of In-Demand Careers in Minnesota—finds median lifetime earnings for machinists, dental hygienists, plumbers, electric line installers and similar jobs exceed those of their counterparts with four-year degrees by up to 61 percent. The average debt incurred by four-year college degree...

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School Choice in Action: Minneapolis & St. Paul Families Leave Neighborhood Schools

Despite education spending increases year after year, Minnesota remains home to one of the largest academic achievement gaps in the country. Not all students are getting the education they need at their neighborhood public schools, and families are responding by sending their children elsewhere....

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Teacher Absenteeism a Big Problem in MN Public Schools

It used to be students who got in trouble for skipping school. But a new national report card out this week gives teachers at traditional public schools an F for absenteeism in comparison to the amount of class time missed by charter school teachers. The Thomas B. Forham Institute report finds teachers in traditional public schools are about three times more prone to be chronically absent at least ten days per school year for sick and personal leave than their charter school counterparts. Altogether, some 28 percent of teacher in traditional public schools miss more than two school weeks a year...

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Higher Education and Careers: Schumpeter’s Creative Construction

One of the virtues of writing a book is that an endnote in somebody else’s book leads you to track down a third book you should have read a long time ago.  Yes, I know I need to get out more often. The book I’m currently working on grew out of American experiment’s new, multi-year project, “Great Jobs Without a Four-Year Degree: Good news for Students, Parents, and Employers.”  The second book in the sequence above is “From Shop Class to Soulcraft” by Matthew Crawford.  With the third book a classic written by economist Joseph Schumpeter in 1942, “Capitalism, Socialism and...

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Does “Great Jobs Without a Four-Year Degree” Hint at Tracking?  Not in the Smallest Way

Usually, when my colleagues Kathy Kersten, John Hinderaker, or I write about Center of the American Experiment’s major project, Great Jobs Without a Four-Year Degree, we focus on soon-to-be high school graduates who may not be certain they want to seek a B.A. or B.S.  Or we focus on young people who may already have attended a four-year institution, but only for a spell, as things didn’t work out and they dropped out.  And who may now find themselves unemployed, or underemployed, and quite likely in debt.  In both instances, Kathy, John, and I talk about other excellent educational routes...

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