Progressive magazine Education Fellow

Sarah Lahm lives in Minneapolis, and works as a freelance journalist, specializing in tracking education reform and its impact on parents, teachers, students, and staff of the Minneapolis Public Schools. She also writes travelogues (picture four kids, a wolf dog, and two harried adults on a green school bus) and has a background in teaching English to students from around the world.  She loves tips, story ideas, and even a positive sign or two, so drop her a line.


Featured Articles

In These Times: “If Education Reformers Are Concerned About a Teacher Shortage, Then Why Are They Attacking Teachers?(May 2016)


Depending on who you listen to, Minnesota’s public school teachers are either too hard to get rid of or too hard to find, hire and keep around. Thanks to two recent developments—first, a state report on teacher supply and demand, and second, a very public lawsuit aimed at challenging the state’s teacher tenure laws—this is the contradictory place Minnesota now finds itself in.

The Progressive: “One Neighborhood School’s Struggles in the Era of ‘Choice‘” (May 2016)


The crowd inside St. Paul’s Galtier Community School on a recent Thursday night looked like a Hollywood casting agent’s dream—if that agent was trying to find actors cut from every swath of American life. Mingling on the carpeted steps of the school’s airy central meeting space were women in colorful hijab, babies sleeping on laps, men in dress shirts, young parents in jeans and Galtier t-shirts, and teachers, their blue work lanyards still circling their necks. 

The Progressive: “School Austerity Measures Come to the Suburbs” (May 2016)


Now this movement has extended its reach beyond the city and into areas once thought to have better schools—or, at least, wealthier parents and better protection from invasive, outside education reform groups. And, as parents and community members are figuring out, one group in particular seems to be leading this invasion: the Boston-based District Management Council. 

The Progressive:Cashing In On Special-Needs Kids” (October 2015)

City Pages: Why the Minneapolis Schools are better than you think”  (July 22, 2015)

The Progressive:The Secret Group that Wants to Take Over Your School” (June 2015)

In These Times:  “Billionaire-Backed Group Spends Unprecedented $290K in Minneapolis School Board Race(October 31, 2014)

Sarah’s writing can also be found at Edushyster, Living in Dialogue, MN2020, and the Twin Cities Daily Planet.

Media Appearances:

AM 1130, Minneapolis, August 4, 2015, “Up & At Em” show

  • Appeared on the show’s “Ask a Liberal” segment to answer calls and discuss my August 1, 2015 “Boston Boondoggle for MPS?” blog post

AM 1130, Minneapolis, July 28, 2015, “Up & At ‘Em” show

Education Town Hall, Washington D.C., June 4, 2015, “We Act Radio”

Contact me at sarah.lahm@gmail.com

3 thoughts on “About

  1. Joanne

    Wondering if you know what must be a current achievement gap meme. Listening to “Reflections of New Minnesotans” with host, Julia Nekessa Opoti, right now, Sat. May 2. Overall topic was a DOJ program about youth terrorism and MPS involvement with it. Male guest (I didn’t catch his name) talked about “achievement gap” and the failure of MSP. Stated that Somali children enter kindergarten way ahead of other minority kids. He attributed it to fact that Somali kids go to weekend schools for years before they enter kindergarten. Then he said that by 3rd grade Somali kids have lost all their academic advantages and a firmly part of “achievement gap.” He soundly, but calmly and authoritatively condemned the “failure” of MSP for this and the overall achievement gap. He mention RT and Generation Next, but didn’t attribute his example to him or the organization.

    Is there any truth to this? I can find several stories from 2011 about Somali kindergartners being ready for school. (https://www.minnpost.com/community-sketchbook/2011/10/report-shows-somali-kids-test-kindergarten-ready-why)

    I can’t find corresponding stories or studies that shows that Somali children lose that advantage by third grade and are, in fact, lagging behind. One story from Dec 2014 reports on MSP dropping test scores, but testing director mentions that the dip was caused by about 12 Somali students and that the data isn’t accurate. (http://www.startribune.com/local/minneapolis/286430671.html)

    Know anything about this? If true, it backs up the schools’ role in causing achievement gap. Or is this just the rephomry crowd sort of, semi creating their own self-serving “truth”?

  2. Mike Boosalis

    I am a teacher who is licensed in two areas, in English/Language Arts 7–12 and in ESL K–12 and also taught in Minneapolis and St. Paul schools and there is much information that I would like to tell you about. I also would like to follow news about these two districts. I used to teach in Minneapolis and I was abused by both students and staff.

  3. Laurel

    Hi Sarah,

    A few interesting thoughts on the MPS annual School Information Fair: Of note: School staff was out as usual to provide information to parents. Missing? School board members! In the past, District leadership was on hand to talk to parents and help school staff promote our schools. Not this year. While school staff spent the good part of our Saturday talking to prospective parents about the gift of our city schools, leadership was absent. No Superintendent, no school board members, no area superintendents. Really?!
    Leave the talking to teachers and principals who spent the week with the students, spending a Saturday promoting all that is great about our schools.
    Also, the event was poorly attended compared to previous years. Why?


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