Education coverage includes what's working, what's not working, how our kids are doing, how our college students are paying for their educations, the achievement gaps, teachers, students, parents, district schools, charter schools, private schools — and your contributions and opinions are welcome. 

Our weekly Education Newsletter highlights articles, blog posts, events, and links from TC Daily Planet and other local and national publications. Click here to subscribe. Click here to see current and archived issues.

Some specific focus areas for our education coverage:

• Who's Teaching in Minnesota? - licensure, certification, demographics
• Focus on Teaching - curriculum, standards, testing, Common Core, Focused Instruction, Aligned Learning
• GED and Adult Education - programs, students, teachers
Minneapolis Five-Year Enrollment Plan
Achievement Gap 

School Discipline

SEIU's faculty union effort may face hurdles at University of Minnesota

One of the country’s largest labor organizations’ efforts to unionize faculty at the University of Minnesota may need a clearer focus to make any headway at the school.

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The game is rigged for girls and women, too

How frustrating is it when you’ve grown skilled at playing a game with one set of rules, only to have everyone else start playing a different game without telling you? In a way, that’s what happens to women in the transition between education and employment.

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Some school and state officials call tuition freezes a 'Band-Aid' solution

A day after University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler proposed to continue a two-year tuition freeze earlier this month, the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system announced a similar extension.

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Reconnecting with the original charter idea

Pay attention to any policy area long enough and you’ll see good ideas twisted out of the hands of their founders and turned into something else entirely. At a certain level, that’s what happened to charter schools. Minnesota just might be the place to start fixing that.

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Bill Maher, John Kline, Mike Obermueller and student debt

As interesting as it is that Bill Maher picked one of our congressmen, Rep. John Kline, CD2, for his #FlipADistrict contest, the reasoning is interesting. He explained it on his Sept. 12 Real Time with Bill Maher. The bit I refer to starts around 2:40, where Maher said the issue of student debt inspired most of the votes for Kline, and then he tore into Kline’s record:

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Daniel Lattier: It's time to decentralize our schools

When I discuss the problems in Minnesota’s education system with others, I frequently reference one telling statistic more than any other.

No, it’s not proficiency scores; and it’s not graduation rates.

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University of Minnesota tuition freeze could extend beyond undergrads

(Photo by Zachary Bielinski) The Board of Regents reviews University President Eric Kaler’s 2016-17 biennial budget proposal on Sept. 12, 2014, at the McNamara Alumni Center. The president’s plan extends the existing tuition freeze for students paying in-state tuition and includes graduates and professional students.

Come next year, the University of Minnesota’s tuition freeze could cover more students.

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In the interest of whom?

September is the time I miss teaching the most. It is the time when hope reigns, or at least makes itself felt. It is the time when students vow to try harder, teachers bring summer ideas for their classrooms, stay until after their own family’s dinner hour to set up something new. Some years this feeling continues until June, with parents who help out, families who pitch in and a good principal. It will never be perfect. It will never be precise. Teaching is an art, learned the way all arts are learned through trial and error, instincts honed over time, and with practice. I have been reading Mike Rose’s book The Mind At Work: Valuing the Intelligence of the American Worker. I see similarities in our struggles as classroom teachers and aides with those who work in service professions: waiting tables, clerking in an office, serving as a receptionist, or delivering packages. In many ways teachers do all those things, and at times, do them simultaneously. In addition to organizing a classroom, we teach thirty to forty human beings, many times in five different classes each day. By the afternoon we have seen between one hundred and fifty to two hundred students. We have guided them to their desks, laughed with them while standing by their chairs as they devise a marvelous question, picked up books for them at the library, kept track of their work and participation. In some classrooms we play music to welcome them, in others we are at the door, shaking hands, commenting on new hairstyles, a great game the night before, a fine essay written for college admissions. After they have left we have sat at our desks grading papers.

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Waiting for superpolicy

One of the themes running through 2010’s Waiting for “Superman” and many branches of education reform rhetoric is the notion of a “sense of urgency.” It’s the idea that the issues in our school system (whatever the speaker may have diagnosed them as being) are so pressing and so immediately hurting kids that we must change them dramatically and as quickly as possible. But can that be counterproductive? Is it true, as Matt DiCarlo of the Shanker Institute has written, that “kids can wait for good policy making”?

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Four school stories to follow: What were they thinking?

A no-bid contract for $375,000 between Minneapolis Public Schools and an organization that barely exists. Programs that actually work to close the achievement gap. A change in St. Paul school start times. A strategic plan that is neither strategic nor a plan. These stories-in-progress involve our kids and our money, which is reason enough to start following them.

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