Recent Articles

MPS: School choice will not close achievement gap


Fourth in a multi-part series

Over the past few weeks, the MSR has published a series of articles focusing on an organization called Better Ed, which has launched a campaign highlighting the shortcomings of Minneapolis and St. Paul Public schools. They promote “school choice” as a solution. Their main argument is that the schools spend approximately $21,000 per students with very poor student outcomes, especially for African American students.
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SPPS super says battling the board not her style

Valeria Silva

St. Paul Public Schools [SPPS] has “evolved” since 2009, the year Valeria Silva was hired as its superintendent. “Have we made mistakes? Yes. Have we improved on the mistakes we made? Absolutely,” says Silva, who adds that SPPS must keep pace with a city that has “gone through the largest transformation in 25 years.” Continue Reading →

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St. Paul Public Schools invests over $1 million in California-based equity training — Evidence of reduced Black suspensions still inconclusive




By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer


St. Paul Public Schools (SPPS) in 2010 began a five-year training plan to improve racial equity “at all levels” of the district. This year, the SPPS board voted five-to-one July 16 to approve a new racial equity policy. According to the revised draft posted on the SPPS website, the new policy’s purpose is “eliminating our district’s institutional racism, [which] will increase achievement…for all students, while narrowing the gaps between the highest- and lowest-performing students.” It also states that SPPS will “invite and include people from all races and ethnicities to examine issues and find adaptive solutions [and] eliminate practices that result in predictably lower academic achievement for any student racial group.”

SPPS Board Member Keith Hardy, who made the motion to adopt the new policy and voted for it, told the MSR that a subcommittee has been working on it since this past spring. He added that he wanted to “make sure that the policy had the right language to address what we really need to address, the eradication of institutional racism…and that we had a policy that will drive procedures and accountability measures that will be specific.”

“I believe we are the second district to pass such a policy in Minnesota. Continue Reading →

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More student suspensions for bad behavior?



By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer


Last week the MSR reported that Black students in the Twin Cities are being suspended from school at rates far exceeding those of other students [“Black student suspensions soar”]. This week we hear from a St. Paul schoolteacher who argues that disruptive students are not being suspended often enough, and that schools across the nation are not holding Black students sufficiently accountable for their behavior. At one time, Saint Paul Public School (SPPS) District policies called for “zero tolerance” for such negative behavior as fighting in school. SPPS teacher Aaron Benner says he didn’t believe the rumors a few years ago that principals had been told by school officials “to stop suspending Black boys.” However, after a former principal later admitted as much, Benner said he began to believe it. Continue Reading →

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