April 23, 2016

Educators 4 Excellence-Minnesota annual member summit focuses on empowering educators to end racial disparities in school discipline

E4E-Minnesota Unveils Action Guide for One-Year Pilot Program to Address Discipline Disparities

Panel of Elected and Civic Leaders, Breakout and Training Sessions Motivate Teachers to Create Change in Their Schools


April 23, 2016 (St. Paul) – Nearly one hundred teachers from across Minnesota joined Educators 4 Excellence-Minnesota for its annual member summit today, which focused on providing teachers with the skills to address racial disparities in school discipline. At the summit, E4E-Minnesota unveiled “Ending Racial Discipline Disparities,” an action guide, developed by classroom teachers for classroom teachers, to outline a roadmap for creating positive school discipline practices.

A panel discussion of education policy stakeholders featuring Minnesota State Representative Carlos Mariani and Minnesota Children’s Cabinet Executive Director Melvin Carter and breakout sessions on the strategies discussed in the action guide – including restorative justice, trauma-informed teaching, social-emotional learning and identity development – helped to equip teachers to address discipline disparities.

“In Minnesota, students of color are still suspended at rates wildly disproportionate to white students, which has a significant negative impact on their academic outcomes and perpetuates systemic racism,” said Madaline Edison, executive director of Educators 4 Excellence-Minnesota. “Teachers have worked tirelessly to develop this guide to empower themselves and their colleagues. Teachers are ready and able to develop more productive discipline policies and programs in their schools, and fight back against an unjust cycle that doesn’t need to repeat itself.”

Studies have shown that suspensions do not deter students from acting out again, as students suspended once are 50 percent more likely to be suspended again.

"Teachers are in a position of power and authority. Common discipline practices challenge students in ways that can further escalate situations," said Cristin Murphy, a teacher at Roseville Area Middle School, E4E-Minnesota member and a host of Saturday's Summit. "Producing better behavior and academic engagement from our students starts with trying to understand where they are coming from, and helping them better understand themselves and each other."