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DFL Bill Disenfranchises Voters on Expiring School Referendums

When it comes to voting on school district referendums, the deck is already largely stacked against local taxpayers. "Vote Yes" committees operate increasingly sophisticated and expensive campaigns with insider help. While districts cannot directly ask voters for support, schools lay the groundwork with informational newsletters and emails to parents.  School board members and district staff are free to campaign on their personal time, while teachers unions promote passage of ballot questions, according to the Minnesota School Boards Association website. No wonder school districts won 69 percent of the 90 bond and capital project levy referendum ballot questions up in 2018, according to MSBA. But...

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Teachers less likely to recommend teaching profession to friend or colleague

EdChoice’s “2018 Schooling in America” survey used part of its annual online questionnaire to learn more about educators’ outlook on the teaching profession. To measure a teacher’s “enthusiasm” for the profession, EdChoice asked respondents how likely, on a scale of zero to 10, they would recommend teaching in a public school to a friend or colleague. ...

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Augsburg Faces Backlash After Professor’s Suspension Over “N-Word” Controversy

Augsburg University's suspension of a respected history and medieval studies professor who quoted a passage from a James Baldwin book that included the "N-word" in an honors seminar has ignited an intense debate over academic freedom on campus. Professor Phillip Adamo was suspended in October but the controversy only came to light recently after Augsburg took further steps to sanction him. The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) has come to Adamo's defense raising concerns over "the climate for academic freedom at Augsburg" and due process on campus. The AAUP’s Department of Academic Freedom, Tenure, and Governance has sent a letter to the president...

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Duluth Teachers File Complaint Over “Huck Finn” and “Mockingbird” Ban

Duluth public school teachers deserve extra credit. A year after the administration banned "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "Huckleberry Finn" from the curriculum, faculty members refuse to back down or cave to political correctness. Seventeen teachers have just signed a letter to the administration, curriculum director and school board, criticizing the district's ham-handed decision. The impact of this decision and the process behind it is significant. English teachers are angry and demoralized. The district is about to spend a lot of money to implement a book that is not engaging and simply makes a lateral move from discussing the historical oppression...

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“Just Missing” Online Learning Projections

In a 2008 book, three of the most insightful and innovative people I know in education wrote, “by 2019, about 50 percent of high school courses will be delivered online.” Or as Maxwell Smart might say if “Get Smart” were somehow in its 54th season on NBC, “Missed by that much.” The book was Disrupting Class: How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns.  The three truly impressive authors (check them out online) were Clayton M. Christensen, Michael B. Horn, and Minnesota’s Curtis W. Johnson.  Three pages after their projection that about half of high school courses across the country...

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We celebrated School Choice last week, now let’s work on expanding it

Minnesota pioneered a model for the rest of the country to follow in 1991 when it passed the nation’s first charter school law, but the state cannot live on past success. We continue to have one of the worst education achievement gaps in the country, and we need more breakthrough in our provision of education services to address our educational challenges. Expanding education tax credits so they can be used toward private school tuition would be an excellent start....

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Minnesota teachers are judged solely by the color of their skin; asked to change curriculum for black students.

While we are still thinking about the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., I wanted to bring a startling development to your attention: public school teachers are being subjected to on-the-job mental abuse and bullying. Teachers are being told they are white supremacists by people who judge them solely on the basis of their skin color. They are forced to listen to crude language (so they could better understand black culture), and then blamed, as whites, for the achievement gap. The kicker? Teachers are being asked to change the "white curriculum" to accommodate black students. Who does this serve? Certainly not teachers...

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Duluth School Board Pays Out $55,000 to Citizen Watchdog

Schools exist to disseminate knowledge and information, right? Apparently the Duluth School Board didn't get the lesson plan. This week the board of Minnesota's 22nd largest district by enrollment reached a settlement with a former board member turned citizen watchdog who'd sought  information on Duluth school's controversial Red Plan, according to the News Tribune. The Duluth School Board on Monday unanimously approved a $55,000 settlement with former member Art Johnston, ending Johnston's quest for data involving the district's long-range facilities plan and other matters. "What you as a district would get would be dismissal of this lawsuit," said Trevor Helmers, the attorney representing...

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