Five Priorities for 2013

What are the strengths and shortcomings in public education that most need attention in 2013?  Students, families, educators and others who read this column in more than 50 communities from Stillwater to Elk River and Waconia, from Little Falls to Caledonia, will have their own answers.  Here are five key areas that I think should be priorities.(…)

Penny, Pete, Paul and the possibilities of public education

In some ways, Penny, Pete and Paul were very different. Penny was a blonde, blue-eyed teenager who grew up on a farm in East Central Minnesota, with 10 younger brothers and sisters. Pete, who sometimes colored his hair, lived in a western Twin Cities suburb with his single parent mom. Paul was a tall, handsome,(…)

Surprising, encouraging Minnesota results on International math/science tests

How about a Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanza compliment for Minnesota’s students in fourth and eight grade math and science?  Recently released results of an international study in those fields had encouraging news for Minnesota, and a surprise.  Here’s a summary, followed by what the results may mean. Let’s begin with the surprise.  Over the last few years, there has been intense(…)

Will Minnesota go forward or backward in history?

Forwards or backwards, which will it be for Minnesota? Having marched for civil rights in the 1960’s, and having taught government , politics and American history since 1971, I hope we see Minnesota’s better side this fall when we decide about whether to restrict or retain our current approach to voting rights. Recently I’ve heard(…)

Helping young people think about elections

How can we help young people think thoughtfully about this year’s vigorous, sometimes bitter election campaigns?   This can be a great week to help young people gain a better understanding and even respect for what’s happening. Being in schools two-three days a week, I have a chance to talk with, and listen to youngsters.  That leads to(…)