Education Issues

We’re parents and we look at issues through a parent eye. We share reports, news articles, research results and our own observations and analysis of what we see impacting our local public schools.

We aim to track what is current and point you in the right direction if you choose to dive more deeply into areas of your choice.

Academics

Academics is a huge issue because it deals with what our children are taught – or not taught – each day: in science, social studies, language arts, math, the arts, physical education, whether they are taught a second language. And what coursework will provide them the skills they need in the 21st century and access to college and career readiness? >>>Read More

Education Equity

Over the last half of the 20th century, American public schools graduated 60-70% of students; 30% of these students continued to college. This served the expectations of the public and the needs of the U.S. economy. Today the world is different. We need 100% of our students ready for learning beyond high school. But do we really mean 100%?  >>>Read More

Family Engagement

While we have always been told that a parent’s involvement in school is essential, we didn’t seem to focus on what kind of involvement increased student achievement. We focused a ton of energy on how to get parents to schools and then tracked how many of us showed up! What we didn’t do was track how our involvement improved… >>>Read More

Policy and Politics

In 1997, Minnesota repealed their State Board of Education. Minnesota now stands as the only state in the union without a state board or an elected education commissioner. State boards of education may not be the Holy Grail of public school governance, but Minnesota is in the unique position of having a de facto school board of 201 legislators determining… >>>Read More

School Choice

School choice is highly valued by parents. For individual students and families, it has provided autonomy, flexibility and fit. Several questions, however, arise in the choice conversation. Is the growing school choice movement succeeding at reforming schools and increasing achievement? Has choice created competition that has improved schooling, and if so, by what measures? >>>Read More

School Funding

You may hear that only five people in the state understand how schools are funded. Parents are pretty smart and definitely motivated to learn how schools receive money, so we object to that comment. Funding is a large part of making opportunities possible for our children. Ninety percent of school districts are reliant on voter-approved local levies, and parents… >>>Read More

School Readiness

Kids need to be ready for Kindergarten. Kindergarteners need to come to school having met many developmental milestones: following directions, sharing with others, a developing vocabulary, counting, knowledge of shapes and colors. Yet, more kids than ever in Minnesota are coming to Kindergarten unprepared to learn. Gaps in achievement between children… >>>Read More

Teaching Quality

Children learn best from an excellent teacher. There can be no other in-school factor as important. This is undeniable.  What is more difficult to determine and is hotly contested is how to identify, resource, nurture, train, incentivize, license, retain/dismiss or determine the effectiveness of that teacher. All of these factors are under great debate and have… >>>Read More

Testing and Performance

Testing has always been part of school, but never like today. Chances are when you went to school, tests were used to see how much you knew and what you had yet to learn. Testing like this is sometimes called diagnostic testing – like going to a doctor for a diagnosis on what might help you feel better. Today, we have a lot of testing being done to see how a …>>>Read More

What else affects learning?

Health issues, access to good nutrition, poverty-generating multiple stressors in a child’s life, a caregiver’s inexperience navigating the public school system – all are barriers to learning. New research shows a myriad of issues impacting a child’s learning. While many obstacles to a child’s learning happen outside the walls of a school building, schools need to do… >>>Read More