I was endorsed by Education Minnesota this week. I welcomed this news, because this is an important endorsement to me – Education Minnesota is my union. I believe in the principles of the association and will be a proud advocate. I’ve been a member for nearly 30 years, and have been active since becoming a […]


May is always a busy month as teachers prepare for the end of the school year and plan for next fall. It is an exciting time, seeing students finishing the year, preparing for graduation and sharing their sense of accomplishment. It’s particularly important in my school, where graduation isn’t assumed, and instead it’s a conscious […]

Building a Better Future

Twice in the last few weeks, the Carpenters have come down to Northfield to host a “Builders Brat Feed” for construction workers in Northfield. “The Carpenters” are the Lakes & Plains Regional Council of Carpenters and Joiners, and thanks to local resident Ben Miller, an organizer, they’ve been bringing down their big black truck and […]

Sen. Steve Kelley speaks on Education

Although Republicans tell us they will shield schools from the budget balancing they are doing, those of us in education are feeling the impact of budget cuts, constrained resources, and “choices” forced by lack of education funding that range from difficult to impossible. We are also feeling the impacts of inflexible high stakes testing where […]

Senate panel votes against Yecke

That’s the headline in Wednesday’s Startribune, which reports: Senate committee DFLers delivered another blow Tuesday to Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s Republican administration, recommending that Education Commissioner Cheri Pierson Yecke be fired. In a 6-4 vote that followed party lines and left Republicans fuming, the Senate Education Committee advised the full Senate not to confirm Yecke, who […]

Senate Hearing on Education Commissioner

Appointment of Yecke as Commissioner of Education must be denied Standardized MindsBy Niles Xi-An Lichtenstein, Youth Speaks How can we walk straightWhen our backs are bent into boxesHow can we standWhen standards overshadow the individualsHow can we createlocked down behind wooden desksAs future fates rest on the restricted breath of a number two pencil tipSo […]


EDUCATION COMMISSIONER YECKE’S CONFIRMATION HEARING IS APRIL 1, AND IT’S NO APRIL FOOLS JOKE! Yecke’s appointment as Commissioner of Education must be denied. It amazes me, the similar theme I keep hearing from this group of ideologues, “Let’s turn back the clock to a simpler time, the 1950s, before we had all these social problems.” […]

LifeSmarts Teaches Consumer Awareness

This last Thursday evening, I helped out with the Minnesota Association of Alternative Programs’ Youth conference called STARS Spring Events. Students prepare various demonstrations and performances, along with participating in various problems solving and skill events, to show what they’ve learned in their Alternative schools. One of the events is LifeSmarts, a program supported by […]

Education Conversation

On Monday morning, Rep. Mindy Greiling of Roseville (54A) and Rep. Connie Bernardy of Fridley (51B), who are both on the Education Policy and Education Finance committee, came to Northfield to discuss education policy. They were warmly greeted by teachers and students from the Alternative Learning Center and two local Charter Schools. We all are […]
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