Strongest schools in Minneapolis shouldn't be sacrificed

  • Article by: Adam Platt
  • Updated: November 26, 2013 - 10:32 PM

Yes, there’s an achievement gap and a perception of privilege, but the city needs a foothold.

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alansonNov. 26, 13 6:54 PM

What the author doesn't get is that the surest way of closing the achievement gap is to reduce the performance of the high achievers.

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MplsSouthSideNov. 26, 13 7:36 PM

I am interested where the author found his information regarding the image that Southwest 'enjoys' as being the aristocracy of the lakes? Those of us that live in Hale/Page/Diamond Lake are extremely proud of the positive direction that Washburn has taken on. These types of comments only prove that Southwest parents 'enjoy' self aggrandizement.

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cav1234Nov. 26, 13 8:05 PM

I am a parent in the Washburn attendance zone and agree wholeheartedly with this opinion piece, both in tone and substance. No one, including Bates, denies that SW is chronically overcrowded. But the anti-SW bias means Bates and others go searching for other "solutions," because they can't stand to send dollars to that part of the city. Hale/Page/Diamond Lake parents should also know that Bates has criticized the Board at other Board meetings for not wanting to move Field kids to Roosevelt, which is the school she is biased towards. Field parents have reacted strongly against that suggestion, citing the valued pathway to an improving Washburn HS. Putting an expansion at Washburn would, as Bates has said, require redrawing attendance boundaries (again), and her "alternative" is really a stalking horse for that agenda. Southwest is successful and needs more capacity - Bates "those are not the most important kids we want to invest in" belies a spirit of malign neglect towards those kids and families. Rebecca Gagnon is the only citywide representative who seems truly interested in SW and Washburn, and that includes Director Asberry, who was elected to represent those parts of the District but whose voice has mysteriously been silent on the expansion, Bates' comments, and the enrollment plan's effects on Zone C.

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mujerincreibleNov. 26, 13 8:57 PM

Excellent article, truth be told in every single sentence. Lived in Fulton for many years and my husband taught at Southwest High School for 12 years, it is such a high quality school and it works, leave it alone, expand it if necessary but it works.

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pumiceNov. 26, 13 9:00 PM

From the article: "[T]he only thing keeping MPS from collapsing into itself is a core of high-performing schools and parent demand for those schools." What if all MPS schools performed at levels high enough to be in demand? Would that be another thing keeping MPS from collapsing into itself?

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redqidNov. 26, 13 9:35 PM

MplsSouthSide, do you understand what sarcasm is? The author was making a point about the *perception* that southwest is the privileged aristocracy.

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bsslpmnNov. 26, 13 9:53 PM

Not a Minneapolis resident myself, but I have many friends with children in SW Mpls. I have often been amazed by the entitlement mentality around their children attending Southwest High School. Educated parents advocating for their children's access to the best resources isn't wrong is it? No, but that's why it is the responsibility of the leadership to continue to advocate for those without the resources.

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jdlellis1Nov. 26, 1310:09 PM

This "white-guilt" mentality that many feel is a politically correct posture to take is both whimsical and tragic. An awareness of historical indiscretions is important to ensure such indiscretions are not repeated but should not be accompanied by slinging darts of guilt. Frankly, this nonsense, is so tragic that, pardon my frankness, it reaps of "Yessa massa, I'll follow you cause ya'll know what's best for us poor Negro's." Yep, life at fair. Ask the Jews and Russian massacred by the Nazi's. Ask many tribes from the Asia/Pacific Basin massacred by the Japanese. Ask the tens of millions around the globe massacred by the former Soviet Union. Ask the millions killed in tribal warfare between Iran and Iraq. Ask the millions killed in the Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia area by various regimes. Ask the millions killed in various tribes within the African Continent. Bishop Desmond Tutu once spoke on what contributed to South Africa to move forward after dismantling apartheid. Their "Truth & Reconciliation" process focused on acknowledging past indiscretions without the legal responsibility or the guilt trip. The great feature of America is the legal framework which allows America to look forward and improve not get tied down into historical injustices. That's what inclusion is about!

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jpcooperNov. 26, 1310:09 PM

Put some Liberalism into the system! Take all the high achievers grades and knock them down a notch or 2. Now take all the kids who are flunking or getting D's and give them some of the grades from the achievers! There all is good everyone gets C's!

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farcicalNov. 26, 1310:20 PM

MPS has a history of building up 1-2 schools while chipping away at others. The rise of SW coincided with the demise of Washburn (which can be directly traced to the 3.0 GPA entrance criteria during the Age of Small Learning Communities). Now that Washburn is rising, look for MPS to chip away at SW (including threats to eliminate IB entirely, after a few years of cutting back on vital teacher training). Meanwhile South's Liberal Arts and Open programs are shells of what they once were. Roosevelt has been completely transformed with it being a "Catch-All" of sorts for numerous special programs and schools-within-a-school pedagogies. Henry rose to prominence (really, look it up) while North was choked away, partly due to the closing of some feeder schools. North's Summa Tech program was terminated and the school has been on life support ever since. Edison survives as the only HS in the "Nordeast", but it, too, has been sorely neglected by a staff churn (climate, admin, etc.) that is only rivaled by that of Roosevelt. By the way, SW has more Free & Reduced Lunch students than North has total students - or at least that was the case a year or two ago. Then you have a definite "shift" toward charters publicly supported by Current BoE members with past, present, and definitely future connections. This Supe and BoE will have done more to harm MPS than any Achievement Gap, while students, families, teachers, support staff, and graduates continue working hard to overcome not only poverty and social ignorance/prejudice, but so-called "leaders" within the district hierarchy.

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