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Teachers’ union proposed salary increases are misleading

Last Thursday, the St. Paul teachers’ union held a vote to authorize a strike. The strike would be in response to stalled negotiations with the district over a new two-year contract, which the union wants to include a 3.4 percent salary increase for the first year and a 2 percent salary increase for the second year. Doesn't seem that unreasonable, right? ...

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A changing gold standard: The overlooked value of associate degrees and certificates

Middle-skills pathway credentials are becoming more important to meet workforce demands in our expanding non-bachelor's-degree economy. According to a report by Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce, certificates and associate degrees can be viable routes to economic opportunity, but they are often overlooked. ...

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Constitutional amendment on schools won’t help, will hurt

This article was originally published by the Star Tribune. Minnesota schools, like schools across the nation, have been striving for decades to shrink the stubborn racial learning gap. The frustration caused by repeated failure accounts, in large part, for the support behind the latest proposal: the Page-­Kashkari constitutional amendment that would make a “quality” education a “fundamental right.” Unfortunately, the amendment is virtually certain not to produce the desired academic improvements. Instead, its adoption would likely lead to a loss of democratic control over education, coupled with mind-boggling financial outlays and continued low performance. The amendment’s noble-sounding, aspirational language is appealing at first glance. It...

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Grading standards do impact student achievement

Authored by American University’s Seth Gershenson, "Great Expectations: The Impact of Rigorous Grading Practices on Student Achievement" investigates how the grading standards of an Algebra I teacher affect content mastery—as measured by student performance—and students’ longer-term performance in subsequent math courses. The "everyone gets a gold star" mentality does more harm than good. ...

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Mitch Pearlstein Testimony on Civics Education

This testimony before the Minnesota Senate Education Committee was delivered on February 5, 2020. Madam Chair and Members of the Committee, my name is Mitch Pearlstein and it’s an honor to be with you today to talk about civics education. At the risk of resume reading, I have held several jobs over the years pertinent to the subject at hand in education, government, and journalism, including special assistant for policy and communications to Gov. Al Quie; as an official of the U.S. Department of Education; as an editorial writer for the Pioneer Press; and as founder of Center of the American Experiment. ...

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