A Rare Opportunity to Invest in Schools
It’s an exciting time for our schools, with spring just around the corner and students gearing up for graduation and other milestones. As that happens, all signs point to major – even possibly record – investments in education in Minnesota this year as legislators discuss a $17 billion budget surplus.
With this rare opportunity, the Minneapolis Foundation is proud to support the Advancing Equity Coalition (AEC), a collective of community partners who have come together this session to advocate for investments and policy changes that will help ensure our schools are well-resourced, representative, and welcoming spaces for all students.
Their work reflects our commitment to address our community’s deep-seated inequities in education, which disproportionately affect Minneapolis students and families. It also aligns with our Strategic Framework, which calls on us to invest in community-shaped solutions through not only grantmaking, but tools such as advocacy, research, and convenings.
With our partners, we are working to…
1) Pay Off the Debt Owed to Our Students
As schools across Minnesota have struggled to keep up with the rate of inflation and mandatory student services have gone underfunded, our state government has been able to invest elsewhere and slowly build up a surplus of over $17 billion. The state of Minnesota owes our students, our teachers, and our communities the necessary resources they have been starved of for decades. We support:
- Fully funding special education, and tying that funding to improved outcomes
- Fully funding English Language Learner services
- Connecting the education funding formula to inflation
2) Invest in a Diverse Teaching Force
The data is clear. All students, but especially students of color and Indigenous students, benefit from having a diverse group of teachers. It is time for the state to invest in and expand opportunities to ensure that students across Minnesota see themselves in their teachers. We support:
- Increasing pathways and remove barriers to recruit and retain teachers of color and Indigenous teachers
- Expanding and supporting Tier 1 and 2 licensure
3) Disrupt the School-to-Prison Pipeline
We need schools to be places where students feel welcomed, safe, and free to be kids. We need the state to affirm the right of all students to be seen as children and not as threats. We support:
- Banning suspensions for grades K-3
- Banning the withholding of recess as punishment
- Making student statements to school staff inadmissible in legal proceedings
Learn more about these issues by watching this recent webinar with our partners at the Advancing Equity Coalition. You can also share this pdf with your networks.