Joe Nathan

Will you take five minutes to help protect your children?  Please consider several steps  suggested below that come from a Lakeville incident. First, read the following with (not to, but with) your youngster(s).  It’s from a June 12 press release. “Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom announced that four students at Century Middle School in Lakeville [...]

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Widespread adoption of cell phones and computers helps explain a startling statistic: In the last decade, the number of Minnesota K–12 students attending charter public schools has increased more than 29,000, while the number of students attending district public schools has declined by more than 45,000. That’s according to a new study our center did, [...]

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Battles, creativity and determination were displayed on the state Capitol steps last week, and I’m not talking about the stadium debate. Several hundred parents, educators, students and state legislators listened to, and honored 38 students, ages 5–18, whose essays were judged best from among the 1,857 submitted. Students were asked to write about a book [...]

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Though it’s not always popular to say, all of Minnesota’s (or any other state’s) early childhood programs are not equally effective. Telling that controversial truth, and helping guide families to the most effective programs, recently helped Minnesota win $45 million from the U.S. Department of Education. Finally, we’re saying what makes sense: early childhood programs, [...]

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What do you see when you first walk into a school? Every week I visit several schools in this or other states. The differences are dramatic. First impressions are important, whether for individuals or an institution, I think what a school chooses to display in its “front hall” or entry area tells you a lot [...]

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Some surprising, as well as some continuing themes came through when I asked school leaders around the state for a brief summary of their legislative priorities. Common themes were respecting local control, equalizing funding, reducing holdbacks and for charter public schools, and creating opportunities for low-cost borrowing that districts currently don’t have. One of the [...]

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As we celebrated Thanksgiving this year, I was thankful for the almost 300 people who turned out to work with and learn from Dr. Joyce Epstein. A professor at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, she’s one of the nation’s leading experts about using school/family/community partnerships to help youngsters. Epstein’s optimistic, positive, practical presentation gave many [...]

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What can busy families do to help make this a great year for their youngsters? Elk River and other area leaders offered several suggestions. Terry Bizal, principal at Elk River High School, would recommend a collaborative discussion (home and school) in the following areas: •Attendance — attend on a daily basis; this is a life [...]

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When there is deep division in this country about some issues, a new national poll released last week shows strong, and sometimes surprising support for several key ideas in public education.  Young people and families in Elk River/Rogers/Zimmerman area are benefitting from the way these ideas are being applied locally. The results come from the [...]

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