Minneapolis votes to stay in integration district

  • Article by: STEVE BRANDT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 23, 2012 - 10:54 PM

The school board's decision is contingent on changes at the West Metro Integration District, which runs two FAIR schools.

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stribreaderzOct. 23, 1210:26 PM

Perhaps this will lead to more transparency in FAIR's selection process. I would welcome that.

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cav1234Oct. 23, 1211:26 PM

Bearing no ill will toward the FAIR schools, but having followed the Board meetings and presentations on this subject, Superintendent Johnson was wrong to recommend staying in WMEP and the Board was wrong to reverse course on withdrawing. WMEP will probably agree to the proposed changes since they need Mpls' money, but the changes will just make the program more expensive to run within a structure that has already failed to produce reading gains and produced only modest math score differences. Adding more diversity is fine, but it doesn't portend any instructional improvement that will bring better results. Nothing in this article, or more importantly in the proposed agreement with WMEP, gives any confidence that FAIR has or will narrow achievement gaps. I generally think Director Bates does a good job on the Board, but she, Superintendent Johnson, and the staff making the rec to stay in are letting good intentions make for really bad policy in a District that is having trouble keeping its own house in order, much less successfully manage the performance of an expensive, soon-to-be-without-state-funding, multi-District integration effort.

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EleanoreOct. 24, 12 7:10 AM

What I see here is another school designed to defy any effort of uniformity within the state system as defined by the legislature. Again, this is the core of the downfall of our system and a fine example of what we cannot tolerate in Minnesota. Using race as a quality of merit is unconsciounable as a civil policy and should be publically recognized as the institutional racism it is, as it is weeded out of the system.

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trythisOct. 24, 1211:35 AM

FAIR is a successful school with a great environment, so the Minneapolis School Board is doing their best to take it down, which is their way. Another great option for Minneapolis kids turned to dust.

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jurbanekOct. 30, 12 8:35 AM

I have a special needs child who has thrived within the Fair school, when he had floundered at the mainstream school. These stories need to be told as well. And while most of the proposals by Minneapolis seem fine, giving the school, parents and children only a 6 month notice (not even a full year) is absurd.

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mnnative74Nov. 11, 1211:59 AM

My daughter has been a FAIR student since the 4th grade. She attended a MPLS public school prior to that and was faced with a student body of ESL students, students with poor behavior, teachers over worked and who seemed to hate their job and took it out on the students. My daughter was becoming more and more unfocused because the teachers were dealing with behavior issues all day and she hated going. Besides that, she was testing well below her grade level for reading and math. The only thing good out of that was because of no child left behind; she was able to get free tutoring at Huntington. Once she started attending FAIR, her scores came up, she loved going to school and it was just a more positive experience overall. My daughter is a straight “A” student now and I know the FAIR teachers and staff who actually showed they cared for my daughter’s success, were a large reason for her academic turn around. MPS has a lot of nerve to dictate and demand changes when their house is in poor condition. Students are leaving in droves for a better academic experience and MPS is unhappy with how FAIR is running their school. Give me a break! I recommend FAIR to any and all families looking for something better, my daughter and I LOVE FAIR, its teachers, staff and the programs it works hard to maintain. What other school provides students with the opportunity to attend MCAD, McPhail, The Loft, Stages Theater, intern at Target Corp., and so much more. I no longer live in MPLS, so if they do decide to pull out, it does not affect me…however the big picture would, so it still concerns me. I do not want ESL students in my daughter’s classroom; it’s a distraction to all the other students. I do not want FAIR to have to spend money on paying for additional programs for students learning English; there are other places for that. I know that may sound bad, but I don’t care. I am African American, I want the best learning environment for my daughter, and I am an active parent in my daughter’s education. If MPS pulls out of FAIR, what are they going to do that is better? The answer is nothing; it will produce a bunch of students who fall through the cracks, fail and skip classes, and continued to get passed each year just so that they are no longer the school’s problem.

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rzuestNov. 12, 1212:00 PM

It seems unfair (no pun intended) to judge the success or failure of the FAIR schools in isolation. Closing the achievement gap has proven to be a monumental task for all schools, not just FAIR. Have we already forgotten the good intentions yet disastrous outcomes of No Child Left Behind? Using punitive actions to shame or wave a finger at one particular school's efforts while ignoring the data which clearly evidences the variables at play throughout our state's school districts is missing the point. The participation of Minneapolis in the FAIR schools should not be seen as overspending or poor investing, but rather a concerted and intentional effort to DO something. What sets FAIR apart is their commitment to follow actual data as it lives within the messy context of education instead of basing choices on conventional wisdom which, as I think we can all agree, hasn't done much for improving either student achievement or closing the gap. I would strongly urge everyone to please visit one of the FAIR schools during the day before passing judgement on the engagement and achievement level of the students there. Then, go visit your local neighborhood school and observe. I have been in education for more than 15 years and, in my experience with schools in our state both urban and rural, student engagement and cultural competence soar within the walls of FAIR. We need to foster twenty-first century skills with our children today; problem-solving, reflection, innovation, curiosity, etc. I applaud the FAIR schools from saying enough is enough to route memorization and mounds of daily homework. They embrace all learners and exemplify community, respect and excellence.

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