equity

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Candidates for Minneapolis school board push for equity in education

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Concerns about equity in education are driving candidates running for the Minneapolis school board this fall, amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the rollout of a controversial Comprehensive District Design plan.

Four seats are on the Nov. 3 ballot: incumbent Kim Ellison is facing Michael Dueñes for the at-large seat; Christa Mims and Adriana Cerrillo, both first-time candidates, are running to represent District 4, an area including downtown and neighborhoods near Lake of the Isles and Bde Maka Ska; incumbent KerryJo Felder faces Sharon El-Amin to represent District 2 in north Minneapolis; and incumbent Ira Jourdain is the sole candidate in the district encompassing southwest Minneapolis.

In the primary election for the at-large and District 4 seats, Ellison and Mims received the most votes.

Both Ellison and Dueñes name equity as the top focus in the at-large race. But they disagree on whether the Comprehensive District Design achieves that. The plan, approved last spring, aims to redistribute resources by redrawing attendance boundaries and shifting magnet schools to the city’s center.

Ellison, who was first appointed to the board in 2012, said board members identified equity as a focus before the district redesign and must now look at the issue as it relates to curriculum, staffing and enrollment. She is “still excited” about the comprehensive plan and said it will save transportation costs, allowing the district to shift more funding to other services.

Dueñes opposed the Comprehensive District Design and said if elected, he would urge the district to slow its implementation to collect more input. He is also calling for a transparent budget and a deeper understanding of why students are leaving Minneapolis schools.

“There’s a lot of goodwill out there; it’s a matter of rebuilding relationships,” he said.

In the race for the District 4 seat, Mims, a Hennepin County

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Michigan Civil Rights commission calls for statewide education equity plan

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The Michigan Civil Rights Commission is calling for the creation of a statewide educational equity plan to improve policies, accountability and opportunities for students.

The commission, charged with investigating alleged discrimination, issued a 62-page report on Wednesday after its year-long investigation into equity in K-12 education in Michigan. It met Wednesday to release the report, which can be found here.

The Michigan Civil Rights Commission is calling for the creation of a statewide educational equity plan to improve policies, accountability and opportunities for students. (Photo: Detroit News file)

“This Commission believes that an adequate education is the key to unlocking a lifetime of opportunities and also is a basic civil right,” said Stacie Clayton, the commission’s chair. “We learned during our education hearings that not all children receive the kind of education they deserve as their birthright.

“We urge policy makers, educators and other stakeholders across the state to view this report as a roadmap they can follow to help schools achieve educational equity and give all Michigan children — regardless of household income, race, residency or ability — the education they need to lead productive and fulfilling lives.”

The report was spurred when the commission investigated the root causes of the Flint water crisis and found educational inequities in Flint’s K-12 school system. To “determine the size and scope of the inequities across schools and districts,” it launched hearings throughout the state in 2018 and 2019 in Detroit, Grand Rapids, Ypsilanti and Clinton Township, listening to educators, students, parents and others talk about the challenges in the state’s fragmented education system.

Through those hearings, the commission said, the problem observed with the state’s education system was a lack of a single system and instead hundreds of independent systems all resourced differently. 

“This type of patchwork system has led to

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Report finds ‘significant lack of equity’ in K-12 education, Michigan Civil Rights Commission says

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The Michigan Civil Rights Commission released a 62-page report Wednesday, Sept. 30, describing inequities in Michigan’s K-12 education system. The report also detailed recommendations for policy makers and educators to implement to make achieving educational equity a priority in all Michigan schools.

The adoption of the report passed unanimously at a Wednesday Michigan Civil Rights Commission meeting.

Stacie Clayton, Chair of the Michigan Civil Rights Commission, said the report revealed a “significant lack of equity” in Michigan’s K-12 education system.

“This Commission believes that an adequate education is the key to unlocking a lifetime of opportunities and also is a basic civil right,” Clayton said. “We learned during our education hearings that not all children receive the kind of education they deserve as their birthright. We urge policy makers, educators and other stakeholders across the state to view this report as a roadmap they can follow to help schools achieve educational equity and give all Michigan children – regardless of household income, race, residency or ability — the education they need to lead productive and fulfilling lives.”

The report is the culmination of a series of public hearings and a year-long examination of disparities in K-12 education in Michigan. From May 2018 through the end of March 2019, the Commission held five public hearings around the state and heard from dozens of subject matter experts, school administrators, teachers, parents and students on the ways Michigan is falling short in its obligation to effectively educate all its children.

The Commission became increasingly concerned about educational disparities in 2016 during their examination of the racial implications in the causes of, and response to, the Flint water crisis, according to a Wednesday news release. The decision in 2018 to launch an exploration of inequity into Michigan’s education system came after learning about the