Educators to gather this week for ‘excellence and equity’


Best-selling author Paul Tough will argue that the best predicators of student success are qualities of character rather than scores on standardized tests during his keynote speech at the Education Minnesota Professional Conference, which runs Thursday and Friday at the RiverCentre in downtown St. Paul.

In Tough’s latest book, “How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character,” he makes the case that characteristics that help children overcome adversity were better indicators of future prosperity than the test scores commonly used to measure the quality of schools.

Tough is scheduled to speak at 11 a.m. Thursday at the Roy Wilkins Auditorium. Other notables scheduled to attend the conference include Minnesota Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius and Dr. Anton Treuer, executive director of the American Indian Resource Center at Bemidji State University and an expert in Native American education.

The theme for the 2013 Professional Conference is “Excellence and Equity,” and attendees will find that focus woven throughout the lineup of more than 90 workshops and speakers. Presentation topics include student mental health issues, technology, reading instruction and teacher evaluations. Hundreds of educational exhibits will also be on display throughout the day Thursday.

The Education Minnesota Professional Conference is free and open to the public. Doors open for the two-day conference at 7:30 a.m. Oct. 17. It runs until 3:30 p.m. Thursday and from 8:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Friday.

Up to 10,000 educators, support professionals, parents and others attend the conference every year. Educators attend the conference on their own time. This is the 16th year of the Education Minnesota Professional Conference. Previous education conventions or conferences in Minnesota, which were known by different names, date all the way back to 1861.

To view the agenda, a list of workshops and other events, visit the Education Minnesota website.