Improving Policy

Each year, we work in partnership with teachers, administrators, parents, students and other stakeholders from across the state to remove policy barriers and strengthen opportunities for PreK-12 students.

Once we identify the most pressing issues, we engage our partners in advocating for solutions. We plug educators and community members into opportunities to contact their state and local leaders, sharing testimony, attending meetings, writing letters and much more. Over the years, we’ve advocated on behalf of a wide variety of issues, including teacher mentorship and professional development, school discipline reform and charter school accountability, to name a few. Our work has helped advance dozens of issues. We’re especially proud of:

  • Our campaign to open Minnesota’s doors to great out-of-state teachers, through policy advocacy, the rule-making process and the courts;
  • Our work to increase investment in equitable, high-quality early learning programs;
  • Our efforts to ensure that all kids count, leading to new legislation that will better disaggregate student data; and
  • Our advocacy to establish a statewide principal evaluation system, which passed into law in 2011.

“MinnCAN’s tireless efforts to streamline out-of-state teacher licensing made it possible for me to teach again.” – Kirstin Rogers, 12-year veteran educator

We also create diverse pathways for Minnesotans to participate in education policymaking and discussions, elevating their ideas and voices. Some highlights include:

  • Our Teacher Policy Fellowship, where we support Minnesota classroom educators as they undertake an advocacy project to benefit students and schools in their community;
  • Our Teacher Advocacy Toolkit, an online tool to help educators learn about—and ultimately participate in—the local education policymaking process; and
  • Our Community Advisory Network, through which Minnesota parents, educators, students and others meet regularly to provide feedback on our policy work, and suggestions to drive it forward in the best interest of kids.

Share Promising Practices and Stories

In addition to our policy work, we also seek to change the narrative around public education in Minnesota to help stakeholders believe, as we do, that all kids truly can succeed. We do this by sharing promising practices from changing-the-odds schools and by elevating the diverse voices and opinions of Minnesota educators, students, parents and education advocates. We do this in a variety of ways, including:

  • Our narrative reports on schools and communities doing innovative work, such as the State of Education for Native American students and aligning PreK-3rd grade curriculum;
  • Our blog and blogging fellowship, which help Minnesota students, teachers, parents and others weigh in on key education opportunities and challenges facing the state; and
  • Our focus on connecting community members with opportunities to share their stories and ideas through the media, directly with legislators and more.

“MinnCAN gave me a platform to voice my insight as a student, and share my suggestions for our education system. It taught me that experiences are valuable, my opinions are wanted and my voice can be heard.” – Asyana Eddy, MinnCAN student blogger

The 50CAN Model

MinnCAN is a chapter of 50CAN, a locally led, nationally supported non-profit that aims to build enduring, research-backed advocacy campaigns that find a path to success no matter which way the political winds are blowing or the obstacles standing in the way of change.

50CAN works to find, connect and support local leaders in states across the country to help them improve educational policies in their communities.

  • 50CAN identifies outstanding education leaders in each state and gives them an opportunity to lead as executive directors, staff, board members, philanthropists and advocates through the creation of a CAN.
  • 50CAN builds deep connections between state campaigns so that they can learn from one another, share strategies, adopt best practices and pool resources.
  • 50CAN makes it easier for leaders to do incredibly high-quality work and more quickly get results by taking back-office work off their plates and providing best-in-class tools and trainings.