PUBLIC EDUCATION DISPARITIES IN MINNESOTA

As a married white parent living in the suburbs of the Twin Cities, I am quite comfortable with the education my kids had and are getting in school. They have been offered quality education choices from kindergarten to graduation. Our district, Mounds View, happens to be one of the highest quality academic districts in the state. Our high school, Irondale, is rated as one of the top academic public high schools in the country. A few years back, only Orono and Irondale made U.S. News & World Report’s top 50 public high schools in the country from Minnesota. Irondale seems to have embraced technology, science and math. Areas of education that the U.S. is falling behind the rest of the top developed countries in the world. So, with Irondale on the west side of the district and the cake-eaters on the east side attending Mounds View High School, we have perhaps the top academic performing secondary schools in the state! No wonder I’m comfortable living here.

With graduation rates amongst the highest in the U.S. and college board scores the top in the country, where’s the problem? These statistics are so impressive because of the grad rates and scores of the overwhelming majority of white and non-African-American and Latino students. Though Minnesota is number one in grad rates and board scores, Minnesota also has the widest disparity of these statistics between whites and minorities. I can only surmise it’s about the money trail and where it leads, and the socio-economic disparities throughout the state and metro area. I really don’t know the answer, I’m by no means an expert. This is where I’m looking for one of the remaining candidates for Governor to tell me the best way to handle this very lopsided situation. We all know that Governor Pawlenty, though claiming to not cut funding for education, he has. So, we know his hands-off approach to education didn’t work.

“No child left behind” was and is a failure! It put way too much emphasis on individual teachers’ performance. The teachers’ performance was graded by the passing rate of their students on some tests. A very narrow criterium to determine the success or failure of a program. The teachers were teaching kids how to take tests to save their own jobs! You get the point. President Obama’s “Race to the Top” program was a little better conceived, it rewards districts for excellence, by way measurable improvement. By qualifying, a district would receive extra funding from the federal government. The conception of both programs was right. Two administrations see a problem with our education system and tried a start to fix it. I believe it’s up to the state, not the federal government, to administrate and operate it’s schools by standards that each individual state controls. The state should also fund the education system, with federal dollars to support it. But, the states should determine how to use the federal dollars, not the federal government. Again, a plea from me to all of the remaining candidates for governor. We need leadership in education, not followers!

Again, I don’t have the answers. I’m looking for a candidate to show me the way. We have kids from poor areas of the Twin Cities, poorer people in remote rural areas, and the usually ignored kids from the Native American tribes. As these kids age, they all keep falling behind. We need help for these kids, quickly. A suggestion of common sense would be to require parents of these children to get involved in their kids lives and education. Common sense, right? Maybe a required meeting once a month with the school personnel to monitor their child’s progress. Again, I don’t know how to fix it, but I do know I’m deeply ashamed of the present system that allows these kids to continue failing. This is Minnesota! State where Governor Wendy Anderson in the seventies passed the “Minnesota Miracle” for our state’s education system. Now, apparently it’s no longer a miracle. There are too many kids failing to get the education they deserve.

I supported Steve Kelly early on for Governor. Why? I liked his progressive forward thinking about education. He laid out a plan that seems to make sense. Too bad he bowed out. Now I’m looking for a candidate to step up and dazzle me with a plan that’s going to help get these underprivileged kids on an educational par with the well-off suburban white students. I want to hear about social programs that will help the family unit that will work hand-in-hand with education. I’m all ears candidates! Please let me know which one of you be dedicated to educational excellence and equality.

I can tell I’m writing on educational matters, I just ran the spell and grammar check and only needed four corrections. Hooray for me! Thank you very much for your read today and have a great weekend. Oh, the Twins took three out of four in Anaheim!

Cam Obert

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4 Responses to “PUBLIC EDUCATION DISPARITIES IN MINNESOTA”

  1. youandmedoweagree Says:

    I wish that education got the push that the Viking Stadium seems to get. Those people are like nats.

    Beth

    • Mike Says:

      People around the country laugh at L.A. for being the second largest city in the country and not having a football team.

      The majority of people there (I lived there, but moved in 2008) don’t care…mainly because they refuse to allow public funds to go towards something that mainly benefits the rich.

  2. youandmedoweagree Says:

    97% of our teachers being rated as fully qualified is a weird distribution curve. It is one of the reasons we didn’t get that big Federal grant . They questioned our integrity

    Submitted by Bob Annen

  3. youandmedoweagree Says:

    Only threw up twice reading this one!
    Submitted by Tom Nyvold

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