Minnesota Department of Education

Recent Articles

Author shares stories of successful education models

Educator says politics should be secondary to educating students
 
By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Any form of meaningful school reform should include all stakeholders, including students, says Dr. Patricia Moore Harbour. Harbour is scheduled to speak this weekend at “Every Body’s In: A Call for Responsibility & Action for Educating & Developing Our Youth” sponsored by Youthprise. The two sessions — Saturday morning, 8:30 am to 12:30 pm at Minnesota Department of Education headquarters, 1500 Highway 36 West, Roseville, and Sunday evening at 5:30 pm at St. Paul’s Progressive Missionary Baptist Church, 1505 Burns Avenue, are open to the public. In a recent MSR phone interview, Harbour said she hopes the two events “will be well attended by citizens, professional educators, and businesses — all those people who have a stake in educating, and come together and find some solutions.” A former teacher and administrator, Harbour is an associate at the Charles F. Kettering Foundation in Dayton, Ohio and also runs the Harbour Center for Quality Education. Continue Reading →

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MPS settles lawsuit, establishes fund to compensate students

Classes taught by unlicensed teachers led some to lose required credits
 
By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) will establish a compensatory fund for former Broadway High School students to settle a class-action lawsuit filed against the district in 2012. The Minneapolis School Board voted to approve the settlement during its September 10 meeting. Broadway is a Minneapolis alternative high school that serves pregnant and parenting teens, and also provides free child care and other support services. In an exclusive interview with the MSR last week at the

Davis Center, MPS officials said that ongoing discussions between the district and the plaintiffs began last November, and in July they reached a preliminary settlement agreement. “The district always had the position that we wanted to do what was best for the students, and we wanted to make sure that we could provide the opportunity that was in the best interest of these students,” explained MPS Assistant General Counsel Cedrick Frazier. Continue Reading →

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Schools seek remedies to racial suspension gap

 

 

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

Black students nationwide are suspended at least twice more frequently than any other student group and up to three times more often in many Twin Cities metro area urban and suburban school districts. However, school officials say that they are working on reducing Black suspension rates using a variety of strategies. “I cannot speak for all districts, but I can tell you that we have worked extremely hard in Anoka-Hennepin to meet the academic and social-emotional needs of all students of color,” stated Anoka-Hennepin spokesperson Mary Olson. The district had a nearly 33 percent Black suspension rate in 2011-12 while only 10 percent of its overall student population is Black. Anoka-Hennepin has been using cultural competency and culturally responsive teaching strategies by the Seattle-based Gary Howard Equity Institute for nearly four years, added Olson. Continue Reading →

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Black school suspensions twice the population rates in St. Paul suburbs

 
Claims of progress challenged
 
 

 

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

FIFTH IN A SERIES

 

According to 2010-11 and 2011-12 Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) suspension data, nine of 11 St. Paul suburban school districts reported Black double-digit suspension rates. Although these districts reported lower Black suspension rates than other Twin Cities-area schools that the MSR has analyzed in previous reports, the rates, ranging from 13 to 37 percent, are still at least twice the overall Black student enrollments. The statewide Black suspension rate during the same period is 39 percent. None of the districts the MSR contacted was able to provide breakdown data on the types of negative behaviors that produced these high rates of Black suspensions. Continue Reading →

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MPS Black student suspensions twice state average

 

 

The district aims for more consistent discipline among schools, teachers
 
 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

According to Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) data from the last two school years, the suspension rates of Black students in Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) are twice that of Black students suspended statewide. Additionally, more Black students were suspended in 2011-12 (4,336) than in 2010-11 (4,305). However, a Minneapolis teacher who spoke on the condition of anonymity believes that the district suspension numbers at some schools are “deliberately manipulated. “They will have an all-out bloody fight between a first grader and a third grader, and [school officials] don’t want the kids suspended,” observed the teacher. “What I’m seeing is there is no black-or-white spelled-out policy for infractions that leads to suspensions. Continue Reading →

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Suburban Black student suspensions show little improvement in 2010-12

 
In some cases, the disproportionately high rates are growing worse
 
 

 

Second in a series
 

 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

In last week’s edition, the MSR reviewed 2009 suspension data from several suburban schools showing, as the story headline stated, that “Black suspensions [are] more than double other students’ in suburban schools.” The MSR also reviewed the 2010-11 and 2011-12 discipline data from the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) to determine if schools have improved since 2009. According to the most recently available MDE data, the extremely disproportionate Black student suspension rates in several Minneapolis suburban schools have not significantly improved over the course of the last two school years, and in several cases have grown considerably worse, despite statements from many districts that they have programs in place to reduce the rates. The MSR examined MDE disciplinary action counts from 13 school districts. Following are specifics from four districts.  

Hopkins

Fifty-seven percent of 2010-12 suspensions (580 of 1,010) in Hopkins junior high and high schools were Black students, an 11 percent increase from 2009. Continue Reading →

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Does Minnesota need a ‘13th’ grade?

 

 

By Donald Allen

Contributing Writer

 

The Minnesota House of Representatives have enacted a bill attempting to establish a “13th” grade pilot project based in north Minneapolis. The bill, H.F. 1149 is part of an education and employability solution for young adults who are unemployed, underemployed and not enrolled in postsecondary education. Co-authored by Senators Jeff Hayden (D-SD 62), Bobby Joe Champion (D-SD 59), Representatives Ray Dehn (D-HD 59B) and Will Morgan (D-SD 56B), the bill is said to potentially impact over 3,000 young adults ages 18-26, placing them on college and career pathways by 2015. It states the commissioner of education shall develop a one-year 13th-grade pilot project, with one site being operated by the Minneapolis Urban League. The “13th” grade proposal is problematic because a one-year pilot program is expected to eradicate generations of educational failures in poor minority communities and the parties involved seem not to understand Minnesota’s employability issues and current status of K-12 education [if any] in the Minneapolis and St. Continue Reading →

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Black suspensions more than double other students’ in suburban schools

 

 
Hopkins students feel disrespected by school officials
 

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

 

On April 26, Black Hopkins high school students walked out during the school’s last hour of the day. They complained of unfair treatment when it comes to disciplinary issues. “We want equality. We are here for an education,” says Junior Malika Musa, who co-organized the protest with fellow 11th-grader Maray Singleton. “[School officials] are not really trying to acknowledge that we have these problems and that we need to change,” adds Singleton. Continue Reading →

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Addressing EBD through special education

 

 
Parents have a say in deciding their child’s classroom setting

 

 

Thus far in this series, we have talked about children’s challenging behaviors: what’s typical, when to be concerned, strategies to work with the school to help your child with challenging behaviors, and what to do when those strategies fall short of meeting your child’s needs. We have also covered special education: what it is, how to get an evaluation, who is eligible, and some questions to bear in mind when considering placement options. This section provides an overview of emotional and/or behavioral disorders (EBD). Emotional and/or behavioral disorders are not a mental health or psychiatric diagnosis. EBD is a term used in special education to describe children who have an established pattern of one or more of the following:

Behaviors:

• Developmentally inappropriate behaviors that are aggressive, hyperactive impulsive, physically or verbally abusive, destructive or intimidating

• Disordered thought processes manifested by unusual behavior patterns, inappropriate laughter, crying, sounds or language; self-mutilation, or developmentally inappropriate sexual acting out; obsession with specific objects, rigidity, overly affectionate behavior towards unfamiliar persons; or hallucinations or delusions of grandeur

Emotional:

• Withdrawn or anxious behaviors, pervasive unhappiness, depression or severe problems with mood; exhibiting intense fears or school phobia, developing physical symptoms related to worry or stress, or changes in eating or sleeping patterns

Educational:

• Has unsatisfactory educational progress that is not primarily a result of intellectual, sensory, physical health, cultural, or linguistic factors, illegal chemical use, autism spectrum disorders or inconsistent educational programming

Social:

• An inability to exhibit social competence — their social behavior is significantly different than what is culturally, age or ethnically appropriate. Continue Reading →

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