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October Stone Arch Discussion Group Cancelled PDF Print E-mail


Mattie's on Main has closed.  Our future Stone Arch discussions will be down the hall at the Wilde Roast, 65 SE Main Street, Minneapolis.  The Wilde Roast has a wedding party for October 10th so we are cancelling our October meeting.  We will look forward to seeing you at the Wilde Roast November 14 when Minneapolis Councilman Blong Yang will discuss underutilized public space.





Education Evolving and Achievement Gap Committee To Present Fall Forum Series PDF Print E-mail


Three Forums to Sharpen our Understanding of

The Complex Nature of the Achievement Gap

October 14th, 21st, and 28th          3:30 to 5:00 p.m.

Wilder Center, 451 Lexington Parkway N, Saint Paul


Forum One: What Does it Mean to “Beat the Odds?”  

david heistadOnce a year, the Star Tribune publishes a list of schools in which an exceptional number of students achieve academic growth beyond what might have been expected, given their past performance and inherent disadvantages. What are these schools doing tobill wilson narrow the difference?. We’ll ask the region’s foremost measurement research expert, David Heistad, to define what beat-the-odds means, and we’ll get an on-the-ground explanation from an educator, Bill Wilson, founder and head of Higher Ground Academy, a school in St. Paul that attracts east African immigrants as to how his school, year after year, beats the odds with its results.


Forum Two: What Are Tests For and What Are We Measuring?

john tanner the pitfalls of reformTesting seems much in the news, though mostly for the trending ‘opt-outs’ and pushback from teachers and parents over how many school days testing consumes. But behind all these concerns lurk the real questions: Does the testing we do help students improve and are we assessing what we really need to know about students’ skills and knowledge? PANELIST: We’ll have a chance to talk with John Tanner, scholar and author of the recent book, The Pitfalls of Reform. Tanner will explain how “. . . as an accountability tool, standardized testing is astonishingly short-sighted,” and how as a measure for system improvement, they always “mirror the demographics of the students taking the test,” and are simply not designed to measure learning -- a provocative premise he’s spent many years studying. We’ll follow that with reaction and a moderated conversation led by former Commissioner of Education Robert Wedl.

Forum Three: So How is Overall Achievement Raised?

angela jerabekFailing even one course in high school can put a student’s timely graudation at risk. To address this problem, St. Louis Park High School began, sixteen years ago, to implement a school intervention known as Building Assets, Reducing Risks (BARR). Because of its success in reducing failure rates for all students, BARR has won successive grants from the U.S. Department of Education for innovation grants. PANELIST: Angela Jerabek, formerly a teacher-counselor at St. Louis Park High School, now works full time advocating for this model which currently affects more than 13,000 students in multiple states. The basic idea is creating teacher teams to focus on individual students then relentlessly organizing interventions and monitoring progress.





Cities' Contribution to a Clean Energy Future - Think Again Brooklyns PDF Print E-mail


mn greenstep cities


Tuesday, October 20

6:00 p.m. - Pizza Buffet & Social                6:30 p.m. - Program

City Council Chambers, 
Brooklyn Park City Hall, 5200 85th Avenue N


RSVP:  Facebook or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


With Philipp Muessig - GreenStep Cities Coordinator

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and


Jeff Alger, Community Development Assistant and

GreenStep Coordinator, New Hope


Sarah Zarrin - Vice Chair, Edina Energy and Environment Commission



philipp muessigPhilipp Muessig's background is in community development and science.He coordinates the MPCA's GreenStep Cities program, a challenge,

assistance and recognition program to help cities achieve their

sustainability goals by using 28 best practices. Philipp will give an

overview of the Minnesota GreenStep Cities program and describe the

services and resources that the program offers to cities.jeff alger


Jeff Alger will first explain what motivated the New Hope City Council to authorize the City to participate in the GreenStep Cities program. Then he will describe what projects the city has already completed to become a Step 2 City and the steps it is currently taking to become a Step 3 City. Finally, he will tell us how the city and its residents have benefited from being a Green-Step City, and what the financial costs and savings to the city have been. 


Sarah Zarrin, current Vice Chair and upcoming Chair of the Edina Energy and Environment Commission will join us to explain how the Commission works with the Edina City Council to advance sustainability and reduce carbon emissions in the city. The Commission has led Edina toward greater use of solar energy panels on both public and private buildings, green building codes, and improvements in water quality.  A big part of its activities is educating the public on energy and environmental issues.
Find out what the GreenStep Cities program offers, how the GreenStep Cities program has worked in nearby  cities, and how an Energy and Environment Commission keeps a city on the forefront of sustainability.


Sponsored by Think Again MN and cosponsored by the City of Brooklyn Park and the Brooklyn Park, Osseo, Maple Grove, and Brooklyn Center Chapter of the League of Women Voters.



Unfinished Business: The Continuing Work of Arvonne Skelton Fraser PDF Print E-mail


arvonne fraser 2Arvonne Fraser gave the keynote speech at the Center on Women, Gender and Public Policy panel discussion in honor of her 90th birthday.  Following are her concluding comments.  For more comprehensive exerpts, see the Star Tribune article:  Arvonne Fraser on the women's movement: 'What follows is the hard part'


A primary responsibility of any group or country if it wants to endure is to produce, recruit and train its next generation of citizens and workers. . . .  Why do companies expect that the next generation of workers — employees — will be produced by those who choose to become parents, as a gift to employers? To add insult to injury, parenthood is often seen as an impediment to success at what is called the workplace. Add that housecleaners tend to be paid more than child care workers; school hours have little relationship to business hours, and maternity and other family leaves in this country are unpaid. That’s disrespect and disregard bordering on hostility toward some of the most important work done in any society. That must change.

Arvonne Fraser is senior fellow emerita at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs, a former director of the Office of Women in Development at USAID, and a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.  She is a founder of what is now Think Again MN.





The Dynamic Contribution of MN Immigrants - Think Again Brooklyns PDF Print E-mail
Written by Linda Freemon   


the dynamic contribution of mn immigrants 91515


Great turnout at September's Think Again Brooklyns forum on

The Dynamic Contributions of MN Immigrants!


Twenty percent of Brooklyn Park residents are immigrants. Dr. Bruce Corrie shared that BP immigrants' consumer power is $304 million and they pay $35 million in taxes. He and the panelists encouraged the community to think about immigrants as assets and focus on the opportunities they offer in terms of their entrepreneurship, global networks, cultural traditions and more.


Oduwa Aganmwonyi:   I wish more people heard we what did tonight from Dr. Corrie. The message was powerful and so timely. I encourage all immigrants to hold their heads up. Someone knows your pain and lack of recognition. God knows!

Sam Mwangi:  Yes, inspite of this massive economic contribution there is still a big wage inequality along the racial disparity line. However, the meeting was an eye opener, and wished so many immigrants had shown up. It was very engaging and we need to work together. Thanks Think Again Brooklyns.


If you missed the forum, you can get key information by using the following resources:

Northwest Community TV Channel 12 Newsclip on the forum

Dr. Bruce Corrie's one minute animated survey
on the major findings of his research on MN's immigrants

what if we viewed immigrants differently  dr. bruce corrie


Minorities Transforming MN through Success in Business.  See Bruce P. Corrie's 1.5 minute video on the latest data on minority businesses in Minnesota.


immigrants transforming mn dr. bruce p. corrie 92015

Sun Post article on the forum.






Reflections on Labor Day PDF Print E-mail


labor day workers sketch



The Rebellious Spirit of the First Labor Day Is Spreading Anew, by Jim Hightower, Hightower Lowdown, September, 2015

Labor Unions: The Folks Who Gave You the Weekend by Dean Baker, Huffington Post, September 7, 2015

Free Riding on the Labor Movement, by Amy B. Dean, Aljazeera America, September 1, 2014

How on-call and irregular scheduling harm the American workforce, by Lonnie Golden, nsnbc international, September 6, 2015

Greening America’s Energy Workforce, by Emily Schwartz Greco, Other Words, September 2, 2015






Innovation and Inclusion PDF Print E-mail

maykao hang2015 League of Women Voters Convention Keynote



In her keynote speech August 24, 2015, Dr. MayKao Hang, President and CEO of the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation, addressed the challenges and opportunities organizations face to become inclusive and the methods they can use to become culturally competent.  Listen to her one hour presentation which includes a question and answer session.





Turbine Technology Increases Wind Potential throughout U.S. PDF Print E-mail


wind turbines germany A recent National Renewable Energy Laboratory study reports great news on wind energy.  Significantly more wind power potential was found in nearly every state thanks to advancing technology which makes taller turbines to catch the wind possible.  Wind energy potential increased in nearly every state making 2/3 of states now able to produce 100% of their electricity with wind.  See the Director of the Energy Self-Reliant States and Communities program at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, John Farrell's article and slides showing the increase in wind energy potential since 1991.





Achieving Health Equity through Development along the Bottineau Light Rail Line PDF Print E-mail


Think Again Brooklyns Forum Highlights


 lrt and apartment bldg



Larry Hiscock, Program Officer for Transit Engagement at NEXUS Community Partners, gave the main presentation on “Achieving Health Equity through Station Planning” at the Think Again Brooklyns forum on May 19, 2015.  Mr. Hiscock told us that 27,000 people were expected to use the Bottineau Light Rail Line by the year 2030, but transportation wouldn't be the only benefit of LRT. During the coming years and decades, there will be extensive development along the line. For every dollar spent on the transit line itself, we can expect $7.00 in development investment around the station areas. The challenge for communities along the line is to guide this development so it can contribute to health equity.


larry hiscock"Health equity is achieved when every person has the opportunity to realize their health potential, that is the highest level of health possible for that person without limits imposed by structural inequities." Hiscock noted that 30% of a person's health is influenced by a person's life style, and the other 70% is influenced by structural factors such as a person's education, income, the percent of income spent on housing, and availability of transit.


photos from equity in development along bottineau line tab 51915

While the average household income in the Brooklyn Park area is $68,000, for black residents, it is $32,395. While 50% of the residents in Brooklyn Park are white, 80% of the jobs are held by white people. People with a lower income have to spend a much higher percent of their income on rent or house payments, not only due to lower incomes, but also to the practice by banks of limiting who could get loans by redlining districts from the 1930's to the 1970's and more recently by directing black and Latino homebuyers to subprime loans. Redlined districts declined socially and economically and continue today to have higher rates of infant mortality.


Low income families also have to pay a high percent of their income on transit. A recent study at Harvard University found that the availability and cost of transportation had a greater impact on families than did income and being a one parent family. Thoughtful development around the light rail which meets the needs and provides opportunities for people of all backgrounds can help reduce the disparities.


structural racism speaker


For a quick overview of the many factors which contribute to structural racism, watch the following 6 minute video. It might take a minute or two to load.








Legislative Panel Reported on Education, June 2, 2015 Print E-mail
Written by John Risken   


achievement gap logo

A frank and lively discussion - This year’s panel consisted of Rep. Jenifer Loon, chair of the House Education Finance Committee; Rep. Sondra Erickson, chair of the House Education Innovation Committee; and Sen. Patricia Torres-Ray, member of both the Senate Education Committee and the Senate E-12 Education Budget Committee.lori sturdevant


Moderated by Lori Sturdevant


See the video.




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voter id laws discourage voting narrow

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A recent General Accounting Office study revealed that turnout was at least 1.9 percent lower in 2012 in Kansas vs 2008 and 2.2 percent lower in Tennesee as a result of new Voter ID laws.  That means it's likely 34,000 more Kansans and 88,000 Tennesseans would have voted if the new laws weren't in place.  Young people, black people, and newly registered people were the groups that saw the biggest drop in turnout.

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