Daniel Sellers, MinnCAN executive director, shared the following apology and clarification pertaining to his quote in today’s Star Tribune article, “Despite improvements, learning gap is still too large, Minnesota says.”
Yesterday I spoke with Kim McGuire, education reporter for the Star Tribune, on the Minnesota Department of Education’s just-released news that our state has made progress toward improving academic outcomes for students of color, as set forth in our waiver from No Child Left Behind. I fear that my comment in Kim’s article could be misinterpreted, and for that, I’d like to offer clarification.
I spoke openly with Kim. I underscored our appreciation for the steps that Minnesota has taken, as well as our enthusiasm for the real academic progress and what this means for kids, for the high levels of accountability, and for the directness and transparency in sharing with districts exactly where they are and where they need to be.
I also shared with Kim portions of a conversation my team and I had with Charlene Briner and Kevin McHenry from the department just yesterday morning. There, we spoke candidly about the difficulty of celebrating gains while continuing to recognize the unfortunate reality that we still have significant shortcomings to overcome. Related, I shared with Kim, “…it’s disingenuous to ignore the ongoing challenges…” I was not attempting to target the department, rather speak to the paradox all of us (collectively) face.
The attribution of “disingenuous” to our education commissioner or department was not my intention, nor an accurate representation of my beliefs, but I see that my comments may have implied such.
Here at MinnCAN, we’re driven to strengthen public education because we believe it is the social justice opportunity facing Minnesota. And because I believe deeply in the potential and value of all students, I'm committed to staying laser-focused on areas for continuous improvement. But it’s encouraging that we’re on track t0 closing our nation-trailing achievement gaps, and we need to recognize that.
Over the last three years, MinnCAN has helped identify and implement real opportunities to strengthen our public schools. Now, we look forward to working with the commissioner and her team, policymakers from both sides of the aisle, educators, parents and students to continue to advance meaningful reforms and build on the progress we’re now seeing. We have a shared responsibility for making sure all kids in Minnesota have access to a high-quality public education.