Most of Minnesota’s public-school districts will have elections for their school boards in the fall of 2020. Included herein are the Minneapolis Public Schools, which is the third largest district in the state. They’ll have three district seats and one at-large seat on their ballot. As voters consider who they want to vote for, there are several issues that they should take into consideration.
Having Enough Funding
Regardless of where you live today, voter referendums help pay for everything from general operating costs to building upgrades. Schools in Minnesota spend a lot of money on school education each year but they’re not bringing in enough money to cover these costs. As such, programming and staff have been cut, class sizes have increased, and adding counselors, mental health workers, and student support staff hasn’t happened. Education Minnesota is already planning a strike on March 1, 2021 regardless of the results of this year’s election.
Today’s schools must take added measures (e.g. shatter-proof glass, active shooter drills, hiring school resource officers, installing secure entry vestibules) to keep their students safe from school shootings. More mental health support for students need to be added but the demand is far outpacing the supply. In fact, Minnesota has one of the worst counselors to student ratios in America today. These counselors aren’t only needed for tackling gun violence, but also for dealing with the emerging health crisis that vaping has presented.
Forty-one school districts and charter schools in Minnesota have reached an agreement with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights to address exclusionary discipline disparities in things like bullying and disruptive conduct. School leaders need to start sharing best practices. This is especially so in the Walker-Hackensack-Akeley and the Anoka-Hennepin school districts. All of this is occurring as Chicago’s seclusion rooms are coming under attack because they’re being abused. As such, parents and advocates will probably advocate against them in Minnesota.
The School Choice Debate
Minnesota has been a leader for choice-related education initiatives (e.g. chartering, open enrollment, PSEO programs) for quite some time now. Now the area is becoming saturated by charter schools, leading to the declining enrollment in Minneapolis and St. Paul districts – meaning their funding is also declining. As such, some leaders are calling for a moratorium on new charter schools as well as the expansion of existing ones. At the same time, advocates are defending the success of these schools, especially for the school education of minority students.
Reimagining Minnesota’s High Schools
Mary Cathryn Ricker, Minnesota’s Education Commissioner, spent a lot of time visiting educators and students throughout the state. In doing so she’s concluded that the high school must be reimagined. This is something that’s already started (e.g. restructuring course offerings) and will continue to happen as more mentoring opportunities are opened to students.
The Education Resource Partners have been working with schools for many years now to create great learning environments for students throughout the United States today. Once you have the best leaders in place, make sure you reach out to them to make sure you also have the best environment too.
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