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AchieveMpls helps students find great jobs that don’t require a four-year degree

Lots of Minnesota companies are looking high and low for skilled welders. They have an ally in AchieveMpls. The mission of AchieveMpls—the strategic non-profit partner of the Minneapolis Public Schools—is to ensure the district’s graduates are ready to pursue their best career and post-secondary options. When a student shows an interest in an occupation like welding, its staff connects him or her with professionals in the field, and then assists the student in identifying—and applying to—the optimal training program. In the past, the emphasis has been on getting a two or four-year college degree. But in 2016, AchieveMpls launched an innovative program...

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Why No Erasing of Blaine’s Name Too?

Activists across the country have been protesting venerable names inscribed on college buildings, as well as the identities of old soldiers on sculpted horseback in village squares, and even the olden name of a lake in Minneapolis, as they view those names and identities as unacceptable symbols and reminders of America’s often ugly racial history.  Think, for example, of South Carolina’s John C. Calhoun, a 19th Century slavery proponent whose name has not only been condemned, but erased from places such as the largest lake in a beautiful chain of them, as witness the newly named Mde Maka Ska. Despite their...

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Edina Teachers Take Sides In Partisan Politics

Zephyrus is "the official news site of Edina High School." Students supply most of the content, but on November 22, 2016, 80 teachers--a remarkable number--signed an editorial addressed to the student body. The context for the editorial was the presidential election that had concluded two weeks earlier. Over the last week, in the wake of a disturbing example of racial hate speech at our school and a historically divisive election, you've heard and read a lot of calls for unity for the school and the nation. This letter is not one of them. The editorial's theme is that "[u]nity is not a...

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Educational and Career Advice and a Barely Changing Score

In the grand scheme of things – and even in much smaller schemes – two decades are not much more than a blip.  So, I don’t want to read too much into an article, published in 1997, that makes many of the same points about how young people choose between four-year colleges and other postsecondary institutions, aided and perhaps pressured by their parents, as does American Experiment’s current multi-year project, Great Jobs Without a Four-Year Degree: Good News for Students, Parents, and Employers.  Still, the consistency is interesting. The article, “The Gatekeepers,” was written by Kenneth Gray, a professor of education...

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Good News about Apprenticeships

President Trump signed an executive order last Thursday (June 15) significantly reducing federal oversight of apprenticeship programs that receive federal funds.  Good and good.  Or more precisely, less regulation will lead more businesses, unions, schools, and postsecondary institutions to participate in such programs.  And overwhelmingly they will do so responsibly, fiscally and in other ways, even with governmental officials demanding less paperwork than usual. One name that has come up frequently has been that of economist Robert I. Lerman, who has studied apprenticeships more insightfully, and advocated them more energetically, than any scholar I know.  In a 2013 paper, “Skill Development...

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How Many Truly Need a Four-Year College Degree?

Every day brings more news about the challenges businesses expect to face filling jobs as baby boomers continue marching toward retirement. Some of those opportunities require a traditional four-year college degree, but not as many as you might expect. That's just one of the takeaways from American Experiment's initiative focusing on great jobs that do not require a four-year degree. The Center's Kathy Kersten recently wrote a column on the program for the Bloomington Sun Current and sister publications. Many families would probably approach their teenagers’ post-secondary planning differently if they knew two key facts. Here’s the first: about 49 percent of...

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What’s CTE? And It Increased High School Graduation Rates by HOW Much?

If I had to guess, there is a general sense among adults in general that high schools in Minnesota and elsewhere around the country currently offer many fewer shop classes then they used to.  They’re right if they think that. If I had to guess a second time, I would say people in general are less familiar with the rise of something called “Career and Technical Education,” which might be thought of as encompassing – and significantly adding to – the aims of old-time shop classes. My own aim here is to report on an important 2016 study that found, among other...

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