Public PreK-12 Education

State Fair 2018

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Public PreK-12 Education

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The right conversations lead to the right actions. In 2010, I started this work to have the right conversations about our students’ different educational experiences in MPS. I was compelled to run for school board at-large because of the lack of transparent discussions about data showing appalling education disparities. While improvements have been made, these disparities continue, making our progress to close the gaps too slow. Gaps are about access. Access requires adequate resources. Our state constitution requires the legislature to provide an adequate public K-12 education for all young Minnesotans. It is the legislature’s affirmative duty and our children’s fundamental right. This constitutional responsibility will not be fulfilled until we:


  • In times of fiscal crisis, we must make tough decisions. Our students, however, should come first when deciding how to allocate our limited resources. I have and will continue to reduce administration to protect school funding.
  • Putting forth constructive solutions to protect our schools and students’ academic experience while balancing our current budget with a $33 million deficit.
    • I proposed December 2017 to direct the Superintendent to reduce testing, evaluations and data collection to the state minimum, only what is legally required. Having only the support of Directors Jourdain, Felder and Walser, this motion was defeated 5-4.
    • I proposed a resolution in March 2018 to further reduce administration and reallocate money to middle and high schools. In April, this resolution passed, providing resources to 16 schools and nearly 12,000 students, saving over 100 school based union jobs, and reversing much of the harm to our middle and high schools that were disparately impacted by the devastating cuts to schools.
  • Align the constitutional requirement for “adequate” to the requirements under the World’s Best Workforce legislation.
  • Incorporate an inflationary increase to the General Ed Basic Per Pupil formula. Currently, we receive pupil revenue equivalent to 2003 inflationary dollars.
  • Reduce standardized testing and evaluations and reallocate funding and time to lower class sizes, culturally relevant curriculum, and arts programs.
  • Provide for safe and supportive schools, with restorative practices and increased funding for mental health support.
  • Fund universal PreK with a parent education component through Minneapolis Public Schools.
  • Transform all public schools in to full service community schools, with wrap around services that meet the unique needs of the students and families they serve.
  • The state must reimburse MPS for the real cost of providing special education services and modernize special ed billing. We can no longer supplement a funding shortfall for Special Education from the State and Federal government, which was $56 million this year alone. The services MPS provides our students that qualify for a special education program are critical to their academic success and they must be fully funded. 
  • Remove MPS’s burden to pay for special education services of Minneapolis resident students attending an out of district school, including charter schools, and shift that responsibility to the state. This would save MPS $21 million alone the 2017-18 school year.
  • Increase support for career pathway programs, apprenticeships, and expand access to trade certificates and Associate’s Degrees so all students have a prosperous career path following high school.
  • Address our state’s teacher shortage by supporting pathways that increase teacher diversity and ensuring the necessary support systems to increase retention of our teachers of color and indigenous teachers.
  • Charters are publicly funded but they are not publicly accountable. The state must hold charter schools to the same standards as our public schools.
  • Fully support legislation that prevents privatization and corporate influence in our public education system. Because of my outspoken criticism against Minnesota’s charter school laws and the way our “school-choice” program harms students destabalizes schools, billionaires Michael Bloomberg, Arthur Rock and others contributed to a PAC that raised almost $250,000 to help remove me from office in 2014. Their efforts were unsuccessful. I am proud of my advocacy for public education and will continue fighting this type of pervasive corporate influence because I believe all young Minnesotans deserve a proper education.

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