Hundreds of people packed The Fitzgerald Theater this past Monday–including several dozen MinnCAN members–to hear Dr. Steve Perry speak on education at The Minneapolis Foundation’s Minnesota Meeting, held in conjunction with its RESET Education public awareness campaign.
In the audience were teachers, school administrators, union leaders, concerned parents and reform advocates; Dr. Perry challenged everyone to put politics aside and focus on student learning in order to close Minnesota’s onerous achievement gap in Minnesota.
And if you were present, or have followed the event on MinnPost, you know just how controversial this environment can be!
Dr. Perry’s provocative, pull-no-punches style struck a chord with many attendees. After the event, debate ensued … In a letter from Minneapolis Federation of Teachers, President Lynn Nordgren called for MPS to sever its link to RESET, which she deemed anti-teacher and anti-union. Lynn Mickelson, founder of Put Kids First Minneapolis, countered, urging them to stay the course of improving academic outcomes for Minneapolis kids through its partnership with RESET.
MPS Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson responded to both letters (featured in the above MinnPost article) strongly calling for teachers and administrators to remain focused on the reason that they entered education in the first place: to provide kids with a great education. She urged all parties to put politics aside and collaborate to close ed gaps. She asserted that students—not adults—must remain at the center of decision-making: “if we fail, our students fail and it is their lives on the line.” The strategies of RESET, she affirmed, dovetail with those of MPS, which is why the district must continue in this important partnership. Superintendent Johnson closed her letter with an appeal for teachers, administrators and the local union to work together to improve academic outcomes of Minneapolis students.
Thanks, Superintendent Johnson, for putting Minneapolis kids at the center of your response and for reminding all parties to unite to strengthen public education. It’s only through collaboration—not division—that we’ll find solutions for Minneapolis and Minnesota.
Next up with RESET: John Legend at the Fitz.