The legislature did NOT include Crosswinds in the education omnibus bill, dooming our state-of-the-art $26M east metro integration magnet school to lie empty and disbanding our fine teaching staff and families. We are coming together one more time to ask legislators and the governor to do everything possible before the legislative session ends to continue this important integration magnet program.
Please join us TODAY (for most of you), Sunday at 11am, in the State Capitol just outside the Governor’s Office. Students from theater and orchestra will be present, Mr. Bass and some parents will hold a press conference. We need to ask for action to save Crosswinds.
See our press release for more details.
The report of last year’s integration revenue replacement advisory task force has new life as HF247 sponsored by task force member Rep. Carlos Mariani. The Session Daily wrote a story describing the “revamped aid plan:”
HF247 takes the group’s advice and creates a new program called Achievement and Integration for Minnesota or AIM, which would combine the goals of racial integration, increased student achievement, and educational equity. The new model resembles the state’s current program in many ways, but task force members say that it would refocus uses of the money in ways that are easily tied to achievement. The new plan also makes changes intended to improve the program’s oversight and more closely track its results.
School districts that receive the aid could spend it on college-readiness programs and efforts to recruit teachers of color, among many other uses. They’d have to set goals for closing the achievement gap and promoting integration, and get state approval for their plans.
School districts would have to spend at least 80 percent of the aid on students, with up to 20 percent allowed for activities, such as teacher training. Districts that fell short of their achievement goals over time would have their aid cut by an unspecified amount.
Many intersession students are going to have an exciting day at the Minnesota Capitol this Thursday (2/14) as they spend Valentines Day learning a bit about how state government works. Ms. Siskow launched the field trip as a chance for the Crosswinds World Savvy team to get some recognition for their 2nd place in the World Savvy National Competition for their “Knowledge to Action Plan,” which entailed a plan for using water straws and education program to teacher villagers in third-world countries how to clean water for drinking. They will be recognized at a hearing of the House Education Policy Committee at 10am (feel free to join them in the hearing room in the basement of the State Office Building).
But the trip has become a much bigger event. Other students from her social studies class expressed interest, and now Ms. Siskow is taking a whole group of students not only to the hearing (which will address reforms in integration funding), but also to meet a number of state representatives and state senators, including Rep. JoAnn Ward and Sen. Susan Kent who represent the district where Crosswinds sits.
This will be a wonderful opportunity for our students to see their representatives in action and make their voices heard at the Capitol. It will also be a great orientation for what we expect will be hearings in the coming weeks on the Perpich legislation to take on governance of Crosswinds.
The Minnesota House and Senate education finance committees are holding a very unusual joint session this Thursday (2/7), 8:15am, in Room 200 of the State Office Building (100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul, MN). This join hearing agenda will include an integration revenue program presentation including the 2012 report and recommendations of the Integration Revenue Replacement Advisory Task Force.
The task force got almost no attention from the last session of our legislature, even though the report included bipartisan recommendations for significant reforms. This joint session should provide some very interesting insights into the thinking of current legislators about the direction of integration priorities and funding.
Tony Lonetree writes in the Star Tribune: Fate of Crosswinds Arts and Science School in Woodbury may lie with Perpich Center. This article focusses more on the money and includes quotes from Perpich, our board, parents, and administration. The article ends with a not-quite-quote from Jim Gelbmann:
Wearing multiple hats in the situation is Jim Gelbmann, a South Washington County board member who also is an appointee to the EMID board.
The Perpich Center proposal has gained strength, he said, primarily as result of the hearing earlier this month. But he and a couple of EMID colleagues are concerned, he said, about the center’s ability to raise $2.5 million to $3 million as state leaders grapple with a $1.1 billion deficit.
Crosswinds, he said this month, is an expensive program, but an effective one for some students.
It’s likely, he said, that those students would not have succeeded if not for Crosswinds.
Amber Kispert-Smith writes in the Woodbury Bulletin: Curriculum key for Crosswinds backers. The article describes the hearing at Crosswinds and the choice facing the EMID Board.
The EMID School will review proposals during its Jan. 16 meeting before making a final decision at its Jan. 23 meeting.
“I do not envy you at all,” said Crosswinds special education teacher Jeff Parker. “I’m not here to change your mind, but I am going to push on your mindset – it’s not wise to spend energy fighting the change, but it is wise to spend energy shaping that change.
“I don’t believe that school closure is a term that I want to hear anymore because that is a mindset of decay; I want to shift our mindset to a more preservation mindset – turn away from closing and turn toward preserving the program. I don’t believe this is the end, it does not need to be the end.”
Cynthia Boyd has written about open enrollment in MinnPost: Minnesota’s new ‘white flight’: school open-enrollment program.
A new University of Minnesota analysis finds that more white students than students of color across the Twin Cities metropolitan area are leaving racially diverse districts to enroll in predominantly white districts, a variation of the “white flight” of the 1970s and 1980s when white families up and sold their homes and moved away from changing demographics in urban school districts or sent their children to private rather than public schools.
Tim Post at MPR picks up on the UofM open enrollment report with Study: Open enrollment increasing racial segregation in Twin Cities schools.
Open enrollment was set up in the 1980s to let families choose the district they want their children to attend. But the study, the first of its kind in Minnesota, said one result of open enrollment is white students leaving racially diverse districts.
The university study does not question the validity of the state’s open enrollment policy, but does ask whether it has had some unintended consequences.
KARE11 covered the story the next day: Open enrollment leads to racial segregation in Twin Cities schools.
The study shows that white families in Minneapolis, St. Paul and St. Cloud tend to use open enrollment to leave diverse districts. They send their children to predominantly white affluent schools. The reverse is also true; students who leave suburban white schools for city districts are typically students of color.
Update, the Star Tribune also ran a story by Steve Brandt on 1/19: Open enrollment hurts balance in Twin Cities.
The study’s main findings:
- The three large city districts of Minneapolis, St. Paul and St. Cloud each lose substantial numbers of students under open enrollment. Loss of white students to nearby districts represents a large majority of each district’s net losses.
- Suburban districts losing the most students to open enrollment include a group of diverse inner– and middle-suburban districts which lose substantial numbers of students.
- Districts gaining the most students from open enrollment are predominantly white districts that receive students from more diverse districts.
EMID schools would probably be an exception to this trend, though it is hard to know because EMID and other integration districts, which are schools of choice, were not included in the underlying UofM study (PDF).
Open Enrollment and Racial Segregation in the Twin Cities: 2000 – 2010
MPR this afternoon broadcast a really interesting American Radio Works documentary: An Imperfect Revolution, Voices from the Desegregation Era. This is well worth a listen or a read. It provides some valuable insight into things we feel at Crosswinds and Harambee and may give us some legs to stand on with the legislature in arguing that Crosswinds deserves to be saved by Perpich.
When the Supreme Court heard the recent desegregation cases from Louisville and Seattle, more than 500 social scientists filed a friend of the court brief presenting research on the effects of school integration. The brief said kids who go to integrated schools tend to have less racial prejudice, and it said integration has improved school achievement for African American students.
Gary Orfield: There’s nothing magic about sitting next to a white child, but there is a tremendous difference between being in a middle class school and high poverty school.
Desegregation expert Gary Orfield points out that integration doesn’t just mix races, it also mixes social classes, and schools where there are a lot of middle class parents tend to be better schools. More affluent parents won’t put up with poor teachers. More affluent kids encourage their classmates to do well and go on to college. Orfield says schools where most of the kids are black or Latino tend also to be schools where most kids are poor.
Orfield: If you look at these highly concentrated impoverished minority high schools, those are the country’s drop-out factories: a few hundred schools where most of the kids never graduate from high school and almost nobody is prepared for college. These are places that just destroy people’s lives. And to think that we know how to equalize this with just putting some money into them is thinking something that simply is not true.
In other words, as the Supreme Court said 50 years ago, separate can never be equal.
Note, Gary Orfield is the brother of our very own Myron Orfield, who has been waging this battle in Minnesota, most recently as part of the integration task force last year.
The EMID Board hearing on closing Crosswinds will be this Wednesday at 6:30pm at Crosswinds. The hearing on closing Harambee will be this Thursday at 6:30pm at Harambee. The public is welcome to testify at either or both hearings. Some folks who wish to share the themes of their testimony and get feedback ahead of the hearings will be gathering at 5:30pm at each location, so feel free to show up early if you wish.
You may also wish to write down and share your testimony with the board (their addresses are available on the EMID Families website) or other families (just send a copy to email@example.com).
According to board chair George Hoeppner, both hearings will follow a similar format. Superintendent Janet Mohr and Finance Officer Shari Thompson will present information related to the reason we are at the current point. After their initial comments,
there will be opportunity for public testimony.
Public testimony will follow the structure of the open forum at a board meetings. There will be a five minute limit for each speaker.
Mohr and Thompson will then speak a second time.
The board will not have discussion either of these evenings.
If board members can find an evening to meet before their January 23 board meeting, they will try to refine the criteria for selection and discuss options. That date will be made public if it can be found.
Decisions will be made at the EMID Board meeting on January 23, 5:30pm, at Harambee.
UPDATE: This hearing has now been cancelled, Garofalo’s office is now looking for a date the week of 4/16. We’ll keep you posted.
We need families to sign up to testify for integration at a hearing next Wednesday, April 4, at 8am at the Capitol’s (tentatively scheduled for Room 5 of the State Office Building). Your voice is critical at hearings like this, please consider speaking up!
The Integration Task Force reported out over a month ago, Rep. Garofalo allowed one of the dissenters to testify last month, but finally, a hearing has been scheduled for the whole task force report and the legislation that Rep. Mariani has authored.
Families, parents or students, can simply tell their own stories. Testimony will be brief, only two or three minutes, so you don’t have to prepare very much. Just tell a story about how use of integration money, the money that makes EMID possible, makes difference in your child’s learning. Remind the legislature that if this funding goes away, then these opportunities you and your child benefited from will be to others. EMID schools are on a break next Wednesday, so if students are willing to testify, this will make a big impact on legislators.
If you are interested in testifying, please send an email asking to be added to the list of testifiers to Jody Withers and Rebecca Peichel, staffers for the Education Finance committee that Garofalo chairs.
Anyone interested in discussing the hearing and practicing their testimony is also welcome to join us for an impromptu EMID Families meeting on Saturday (3/31) at 1pm at Eric and Mary’s home (1993 Lincoln Avenue, Saint Paul). Please RSVP so we have an idea of how many people to expect.