for MN House 62B.
for MN House 62B.
Leading with community.
Nine years ago, I made a leap of faith that Minneapolis shared my vision for every child having access to a great public school in their neighborhood, regardless of zip code. Promising to work towards that vision with the community, I ran and won a citywide seat on the Minneapolis School Board. For seven years I’ve worked with families, students, educators, staff and community members to increase equity across schools with the goal of improving our students’ educational experiences.
While I have been a tested public servant for the past seven years, I view myself as a mom first. One of the greatest joys of my life has been raising two graduates of Minneapolis Public Schools, along with my youngest who is currently an eighth grader at Justice Page Middle School. As a mom and School Board Member, I have committed my time and energy to advocating for various issues that intersect with PreK-12 public education including homelessness, health disparities, safety, and efforts to decriminalize poverty in our city.
In my two terms on the Minneapolis School Board, I am proud of the work I’ve accomplished with fellow board members and community leaders, including:
- Addressing overcrowding in classrooms by reopening and expanding schools throughout the city including Washburn, Southwest, Sanford, Seward, North High, Follwell, Justice Page, Franklin, and Webster.
- Expanding access to recreational services for our students of color by championing the Phillips Pool, Olson Pool and Franklin Pool renovations.
- Protecting the quality of classrooms by re-focusing our priorities for literacy, stewardship, equity, emotional learning, and academics through our Multi-tiered System of Supports.
- Investing in restorative practices, 30 minutes of recess for all elementary students, clinics in all of our high schools and some of our K-5s and K-8s.
- Increasing investments for our successful High 5 Early Childhood Program, our English Learner Program, and our Social Emotional Learning services.
- Supporting and working with our families at the local and state level around issues like DACA, Homes for All, and Safe and Supportive Schools.
- Finding the right Superintendent who is committed to increasing stability and alignment in our school district.
- Fully implementing a Farm to School meal program so food is always fresh and sourced locally.
While on the School Board, I have served various leadership positions—Policy Chair for two years, Treasurer and Finance Chair for four years, and Chair of the Board in 2017. I also had the opportunity to represent the School Board in other capacities at the local and state level including the City Planning Commission, Achieve Minneapolis Board, MN Education Equity Partnership Board, Minneapolis Community & Technical College Concurrent Enrollment Committee, and the MN School Districts Liquid Asset Fund Board.
My experience also entails serving as the School Board representative for both the MN School Board Association (MSBA) and the Association of Metropolitan School Districts (AMSD), where I was Chair of AMSD in 2015-16. MSBA and AMSD function primarily to advocate for PreK-12 education at the State Capitol. A significant amount of my time was spent in legislative committee hearings and working with state legislators, not only in education but in numerous areas that impact our students and families ability to succeed in and outside of the classroom.
In 2012 and again in 2016, I was appointed by the United States Secretary of Education to represent local school boards on the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB), an independent and nonpartisan board in charge of policy-making for The Nation’s Report Card. I currently serve as Chair of the Reporting and Dissemination Committee and on the NAGB Executive Committee. As a result of this policy work at the national level, I was able to bring a unique and informed perspective to multiple task forces for the MN Department of Education including the Educator Quality Task Force, the Test Reduction Task Force, and the Teacher Equity Advisory Committee.
This policy work has been crucial to the success of young Minnesotans in the classroom, but there remains plenty of work to do for our students and families. My ability to serve and achieve better outcomes for all students is hampered by inadequate state and federal resources. Our State Constitution ensures every child an adequate K-12 public education, however, our state legislature consistently fails to fund what they define as adequate education under the World’s Best Workforce legislation. Minneapolis Public Schools are in a constant state of massive budget cuts because (1) the state pupil allocation has not kept up with inflation; (2) the Special Education and English Learner services we provide are underfunded—by $65 million in 2018 alone—and (3) additional unfunded state mandates hinder the district’s ability to properly care for every student. This nonsense must end.
I am running to be your State Representative because I believe schools must serve the whole child. I’ve seen firsthand how a multitude of issues affect public education. Issues such as affordable housing, health disparities, poverty and safety all play vital roles in young Minnesotans’ ability to succeed in the classroom. These are issues that the state has significant influence over and issues that I have been navigating with families and community members during my two terms as your Citywide School Board Member. My love and passion for this work drives me to stay informed and engaged so I can serve our communities more effectively. I know that great schools require strong community support and thriving communities DEPEND upon great schools. While I am passionate about education, I know a holistic approach must be taken before we can solve the various issues impacting Minnesota’s opportunity gap.
I am running to be your State Representative because our progressive values centered around inclusion, stewardship and justice are being threatened at all levels of government. Here at the local level, it is clear now more than ever that the sustainability and health of our communities are threatened by privatization and gentrification. All of these issues are interconnected. Public schools, public housing, public safety and community corrections must all remain in public control. When we introduce privatization, we introduce profit; and inevitably profits, not people, become the primary focus. It’s time for policy-makers at the state level to steer us off this path of privatization, thereby ensuring everyone receives access to these basic rights.
And finally, I am running to be your State Representative because I believe our community needs a tested, informed and outspoken progressive voice in the State Legislature. So many issues intersect with education and ultimately impact the vitality, stability, and prosperity of our neighborhoods. Our children deserve better, our schools deserve better, and our community deserves better. Translating values and conviction into policy is challenging, however, I’ve never been one to back down from a fight. Just ask the billionaires who unsuccessfully attempted to remove me from office because of my strong opinions against corporate influence in public education. I have been fighting for our progressive values as your Citywide School Board Member and will continue fighting as your next State Representative. Over the next few months I look forward to connecting, sharing my priorities, and earning your support to represent District 62B at the Minnesota Capitol.
We live in a time were there is too much hateful and divisive rhetoric driving the national agenda. I beleive in countering this chaos by strengthening local control where we have the power to further our progressive policies. As your next State Representative in 62B, I will continue my pledge as a civil servant. I will continue advocating with an outspoken voice. And I will continue fighting for the most vulnerable in our vibrant and diverse community. Starting day one at the Minnesota Capitol, here are my top priorities as your State Representative in 62B.
Glaziers Local 1324
Linea Palmisano, Council Member Ward 13
Abdi Warsame, Council Member Ward 6
Ira Jourdain, School Board Director District 6
Kerry Jo Felder, School Board Director District 2
Siad Ali, School Board Director District 3
Kale Severson, Park Board Commissioner District 2
Community, Educators, and Parents
Cynthia Callanan, Teacher MPS
Mavis Mantila, Teacher MPS
Al Flowers Jr.