American RadioWorks |
Michael Walker with students in Minneapolis (photo: @MPS_BlackMales Twitter account)

Boosting Black Male Student Achievement

The Minneapolis Public School District created an Office of Black Male Student Achievement earlier this year. One goal of the office is to help young African American men graduate from high school in greater numbers.

Recent Posts

  • 01.22.15

    Free Community College for All

    President Barack Obama wants to make the first two years of community college free for what he calls “responsible students” who are “willing to work for it.” It’s being called “America’s College Promise.” This week on the podcast we examine the prospect of free community college for all.
  • 01.14.15

    What’s in a number?

    Our guest this week has a message for high school seniors and their parents who are poring over the latest college rankings lists: Put ‘em down.
  • 12.23.14

    Who’s missing from the achievement gap debate?

    The achievement gap refers to the disparities in academic success between lower-income students of color and their more affluent white counterparts. But according to Quyen Dinh, executive director of the national advocacy organization Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC), one group often left out of the conversation is Southeast Asian American students.
  • 01.05.15

    Following the Money in Education Philanthropy

    Philanthropic foundations have been giving money to public education for years. But our guest this week argues that philanthropies are increasingly pushing specific educational agendas.

American RadioWorks |
Michael Walker with students in Minneapolis (photo: @MPS_BlackMales Twitter account)

Boosting Black Male Student Achievement

The Minneapolis Public School District created an Office of Black Male Student Achievement earlier this year. One goal of the office is to help young African American men graduate from high school in greater numbers.

Recent Posts

  • 01.22.15

    Free Community College for All

    President Barack Obama wants to make the first two years of community college free for what he calls “responsible students” who are “willing to work for it.” It’s being called “America’s College Promise.” This week on the podcast we examine the prospect of free community college for all.
  • 01.14.15

    What’s in a number?

    Our guest this week has a message for high school seniors and their parents who are poring over the latest college rankings lists: Put ‘em down.
  • 12.23.14

    Who’s missing from the achievement gap debate?

    The achievement gap refers to the disparities in academic success between lower-income students of color and their more affluent white counterparts. But according to Quyen Dinh, executive director of the national advocacy organization Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC), one group often left out of the conversation is Southeast Asian American students.
  • 01.05.15

    Following the Money in Education Philanthropy

    Philanthropic foundations have been giving money to public education for years. But our guest this week argues that philanthropies are increasingly pushing specific educational agendas.


Adoption stories


Leah Kessel
Minneapolis, MN

Birth Country: South Korea
Decade of adoption: 1970s

My biological brother and I were adopted by a Minnesotan family (parents and their biological son) when I was four and he was two years old. They went through the Children's Home Society here in St. Paul. Even though the three of us were raised together in the same household, we are very different from each other. My younger brother and I have different feelings about our adoption, and I think that my older brother's experiences are just as important to acknowledge.

Several years ago, my family took a trip to South Korea, and I was able to meet my birth mother and her family. It was an incredible experience.

I am most grateful to have been adopted with my younger brother, that we were able to stay together. I am also very happy to have been brought together with an older brother whom I love just as much as I do my younger brother. And I believe we were all meant to be with one another.

At the time that my parents adopted us, I don't believe it was common for parents to go abroad to pick up the children themselves. I vaguely remember being on the plane, sitting next to people and playing with them. I recently came upon a note from the adults who had been playing with us on the plane, and it was a wonderful experience. It felt like just another piece of the experience (puzzle) had been handed to me.



Back to Adoption Stories


American RadioWorks |
Michael Walker with students in Minneapolis (photo: @MPS_BlackMales Twitter account)

Boosting Black Male Student Achievement

The Minneapolis Public School District created an Office of Black Male Student Achievement earlier this year. One goal of the office is to help young African American men graduate from high school in greater numbers.

Recent Posts

  • 01.22.15

    Free Community College for All

    President Barack Obama wants to make the first two years of community college free for what he calls “responsible students” who are “willing to work for it.” It’s being called “America’s College Promise.” This week on the podcast we examine the prospect of free community college for all.
  • 01.14.15

    What’s in a number?

    Our guest this week has a message for high school seniors and their parents who are poring over the latest college rankings lists: Put ‘em down.
  • 12.23.14

    Who’s missing from the achievement gap debate?

    The achievement gap refers to the disparities in academic success between lower-income students of color and their more affluent white counterparts. But according to Quyen Dinh, executive director of the national advocacy organization Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC), one group often left out of the conversation is Southeast Asian American students.
  • 01.05.15

    Following the Money in Education Philanthropy

    Philanthropic foundations have been giving money to public education for years. But our guest this week argues that philanthropies are increasingly pushing specific educational agendas.