Winter Forum I

Seeking Agreement - the First of Four Forums

See the Video:

Read Scott Russell's Summary

Forum One: Modernize schools, implement policies on the books, build community support

Over the years, Minnesota has had many reformers propose ways to close the state’s persistent achievement gap. One key approach is to assertively follow through on the ideas already in law.

“We don’t lack for ideas,” said Mary Cecconi, executive director of Parents United. “We suffer from lack of implementation.”

Cecconi was one of the panelists discussing the achievement gap and possible areas of consensus on solutions among the many players in the reform area. The other speaking were: Joe Nathan,  director of the Center for School Change, Maureen Ramirez, Policy and Research Director for Growth and Justice, and Chris Stewart, executive director of the African American Leadership Forum.

While issues such as teacher evaluation can get divisive, there was some agreement that  current school structures are antiquated. There also was some agreement on the need for strong follow up to existing law. Examples cited included implementing the expansion of early childhood scholarships, better promotion of dual credit courses (letting high school students attend college), and the need to support school districts in implementing the new “World’s Best Workforce” legislation. Among other things, the law requires districts to make a plan to reduce the achievement gap, publicly present that plan and report on its results. 

This was the first of three such forums sponsored by the Minnesota Achievement Gap Committee. The panelists are asked to address three questions: 1) How do you understand the achievement gap? 2. How do you propose to solve the problem? 3) What are the barriers to solving the problem?

 Here is a quick summary of their comments. See the video for more details.
. . . (read more)

The Next Brown-Bag

 (See all Brown Bags)

AGC Winter Forum Series: Seeking agreement on how to close Minnesota’s Achievement Gap

For years, you have come to the Achievement Gap Committee’s Brown Bag lunches to hear from a wide range of education professionals, researchers, and policy makers on how to close the achievement gap. This winter, we are asking the question: Are there areas of agreement that a broad range of people and organizations could get behind?

To that end, we are inviting a dozen of the state’s top education reform groups to talk about their plans and possible areas of agreement. The forums will run from noon to 1:30 p.m. on consecutive Tuesdays, starting Jan. 21 and finishing Feb. 11. We are moving to a slightly larger venue, the University of Minnesota’s McNamara Center, 200 Oak St. SE, in the Maroon and Gold Room. Find location and parking information here.

The first three forums will feature four organizations each. They will have 15 minutes each to present their proposals, leaving time at the end for Q&A. The format for the fourth forum is still in the works. It will be an opportunity to discuss the various proposals for areas of agreement.

The first event, Tuesday, January 21, features the African American Leadership Forum, Center for School Change, Growth & Justice, and Parents United.

Each organization is being asked to cover four broad questions during their presentation:

1. How do you understand the problem of the achievement gap?

2. What do you believe needs to be done to end the achievement gap?

3. What do you believe are the barriers to ending the achievement gap?

4. Where do you see agreement among the reform proposals of the participating organizations?

The schedule for the other two forums is:

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