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Education events: Emily Bazelon on bullying, mayoral-race forum, ed access and more

On Wednesday, Emily Bazelon will talk about her new book, “Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy.”

There are a handful of upcoming events Learning Curve would like to bring to the attention of education-watchers, parents and Minneapolis voters. The first takes place Wednesday, Sept. 11, and features an author Your Humble Blogger has long admired.

Emily Bazelon

A best-selling contributor to Slate and other publications, Emily Bazelon will be talking about her new book, “Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy,” as part of an event being hosted by Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.

I didn’t realize this, but Children’s has put a lot of energy into exploring bullying as an issue that has a significant impact on the health of Minnesota kids. Two months ago it released “Understanding the Threat of Bullying,” a report concluding that while harassment can hurt any kid, those with illnesses or special needs are particularly vulnerable and may suffer developmental setbacks.

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Joining Bazelon for “Breaking Down Bullying,” then, will be Dr. Mike Troy, medical director of behavioral health services at Children’s, and teenager Christina Wagner, a bullying victim and co-chair of a student advocacy group at PACER.

Bazelon will speak at 6 p.m. at the Minnesota Children’s Museum, followed by a panel discussion from 7-8. Admission is free. RSVP to; seating is limited.

Mayoral candidates on education

The second event I’d like to draw your attention to actually sold out in record time — so quickly, in fact, that its organizers have arranged for The Uptake to stream the event live. Taking place Monday, Sept. 16, it’s a forum focused on the education platforms of Minneapolis’ leading mayoral candidates.

Entitled “Education and the Opportunity Gap,” the forum has a long list of sponsors, including the African American Leadership Forum, the Chicano Latino Affairs Council, the Community Justice Project, the Minnesota Minority Education Partnership, Teach for America, the Organizing Apprenticeship Project, Students For Education Reform, Students First, MinnCAN and Put Kids First Minneapolis.

Mark Andrew, who will doubtless face one of the strongest grillings given the philosophies of the sponsors and his controversial remarks on education last month, initially said he had a conflict but earlier this week confirmed he would attend.  

In real life, as they say, the debate — moderated by the University of St. Thomas Law School’s Nekima Levy-Pounds — will take place at the Mill City Museum from 6-8 p.m. Things will be just as hot on the internets, however:

Further out, save Oct. 22 and 24 for events hosted, respectively, by Parents United and Cultural Jambalaya. Yes, I know two school nights in a single week can be two too many, but I don’t think you want to miss either.

Access and opportunity

The first will feature Dr. John Jackson, president and CEO of the Schott Foundation. Jackson will discuss the nonprofit’s research on outcomes and supports for African-American boys, among other groups, with an eye toward shifting the discussion about education policy to issues of access and opportunity.    

“An Education Declaration to Rebuild America’s Public Schools: A New Approach” will take place at 7 p.m. at the TIES Event Center, at 1667 N. Snelling Ave. in St. Paul. Again, the event is free and open to the public, but registration is requested as seating is limited. For more information, contact Ann Hobbie at 651-999-7391 or

I’ve saved the best for last. Every year Cultural Jambalaya, a local nonprofit that creates and distributes astonishing video programs featuring the work of globe-trekking photographer Gail Shore, hosts a gala fundraiser focusing on a different region of the world.

I’ve written about Cultural Jambalaya’s great work in this space before. That’s because they just keep producing more of their signature “Windows and Mirrors” programs and curricula, which allow teachers to bring the world into their classrooms. And they just keep winning awards for the videos, too. 

Charanga Tropical — and a preview of new DVD

This year’s pachanga — pachanga being Central American slang for “amazing party” — kicks off at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 24 at the Calhoun Beach Club. It will feature Charanga Tropical, an ensemble performing Cuban-style salsa. There will also be a sneak peek at the soon-to-be-released Latin America program, as well as remarks by Erick Garcia Luna,
 senior constituent advocate for U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Cari-Ana Garcia Luna, an
 educator at SAGE Academy Charter School.

Alas, this one’s not free. But the $75 admission includes food, a complimentary beverage and free valet service at the Club’s front entrance. I dare say that’s what an evening of nibbling and dancing would cost you at a nightclub anyhow.

Here, you get the thrill of knowing that your cash will help get Cultural Jambalaya’s work into schools all over the country — in part because a long list of sponsors are underwriting the event and shelling out for Charanga Tropical’s appearance.  

Reserve your ticket by RSVPing by Oct. 18 at or by calling James Peterson at 612-655-9075.