August 15, 2019

E4E-Minnesota Joins Coalition to Advocate for Improvements to MPS Comprehensive Draft Plan

Minneapolis Public Schools is in the process of creating their strategic plan, dubbed the Comprehensive Design Plan, which seeks to improve outcomes for the districts' students. The Advancing Equity Coalition, a collection of community organizations and education advocates, seeks equity for the children of Minneapolis Public Schools and is advocating for several critical improvements to the draft plan. Both as a part of the Coalition, and as a part of E4E-Minnesota's We Can't Afford Inequity Campaign, we are calling on the district to address how it make will access to excellent teachers more equitable within the plan.

Check out the full Coalition Letter delivered to District Leadership below. 

Dear Superintendent Graff and Minneapolis School Board Members,

We hope this letter finds you well. The Advancing Equity Coalition, a collection of community organizations and education advocates seeking equity for the children of Minneapolis Public Schools, is writing to you today to urge you to lead this city with courage and take bold action for students of color and indigenous students.

We trust you have the best interests of our students at the center of your decision-making process. With 65% of your students representing indigenous communities and communities of color, we ask that you consider our request to leverage the Comprehensive District Design to do the following:
  • 1. Clearly state your vision and what you hope to accomplish with the Comprehensive Design.
  • 2.  Provide a detailed description of what is changing (before/after) with each recommendation.

  • 3. Conduct direct, intentional, authentic community engagement.

  • 4. Provide a condensed, accessible version of the presentation and recommendations.

  • 5. Provide the data that has informed the recommendations you have made and demonstrate how this plan will not amplify segregation.

  • 6. Conduct an Equity and Diversity Impact Assessment of the placement protocols for families and a plan on how you will be held accountable to enforcing them.

  • 7. Clearly state your plan for investing in the academic growth of our children through improved instruction, how teachers are allocated across the district, and remove barriers in the hiring, retainment, and placement of teachers of color.

  • 8. Ensure that each adult in every single building is held appropriately accountable to policy 1304, and view any violation of that policy when interacting directly with a student as gross misconduct.

​The Advancing Equity Coalition wants to see Minneapolis Public Schools be successful. ​As your key stakeholders and constituents of students, parents, and residents of Minneapolis, we recognize the Comprehensive District Design as an opportunity you've created for yourself and the district to put your framework and policies into action to properly serve populations that this district has traditionally marginalized and underserved. We stand readily alert and aware that this project can be easily remiss and that any neglect in raising equity would result in further detriment to the most vulnerable communities.

In the MPS Equity Framework, you state:
“At the heart of the framework is Collective Accountability. As individuals and as an organization, we are all accountable for creating educational equity. It ensures that we move from “random acts of equity” to a focused and prioritized effort that creates change."

In the Diversity and Equity Policy 1304 you state:
“​MPS is committed to identifying and correcting practices and policies that perpetuate the achievement gap and institutional racism in all forms."

Superintendent Graff​, we know taking action to comply with the equity policy and framework will be difficult, leadership is about taking action when it is not easy. For too long our communities have been underserved, and we need you to lead in making​ ​difficult decisions that serve the common good and not the interests of those with privilege. At this moment, communities of color and indigenous communities need you to lead and be unapologetic about taking action on their behalf.

School board members, we need our students and families who have been traditionally underserved to be put in front of politics. In a moment where there is so much to fear for our indigenous students and students of color, the Advancing Equity Coalition is choosing to see hope. We are asking you to uphold the equity policy and framework by making data driven-decision around students and families who have been traditionally marginalized. Our indigenous students, students of color, and students have been marginalized are so brilliant. You have the opportunity to honor their brilliance by prioritizing their needs and growth with the Comprehensive District Design. Let’s work together to ensure we do not miss this opportunity for students. We look forward to working with you.

Sincerely,

Coalition of Asian American Leaders
Educators for Excellence
HACER Integrated Schools - Minneapolis
Isuroon
J.D. Graves Foundation
Latino Youth Development Collaborative
Migizi Minnesota Literacy Council
Students for Education Reform - Minnesota
Voices for Racial Justice