Alright – so, I know the session ended months ago and I am just writing my take on it. The reason being it has been such a disappointing year for advocating discipline disparities in the Minnesota education system. Honestly, this is by far the most difficult issue I have ever had to advocate for. Education is the key to success and to living a life worth living. Education is knowledge and knowledge is power. Thus, the reason why this state has such high education disparities. Those with the power do not want to share it nor ever give up. It does not matter if facts and data suggest children are failing in schools because they are being kicked from their education environment by teachers and administrators who are at best bias and at worst racist.
No one wants to hear they are racist, but those doing it do not want to stop it. I along with so many other parents, organizations, and even some legislators have testified endlessly to sadly no end.
Let’s dissect what happened and who did what and why.
Gov Walz (aka one hoax Minnesotans) put the kitchen sink in his education policy bill as he does every year. Let’s be clear this governor is by far the worst I have ever seen. He preaches sugar, but his policies are as salty as ocean water. The teacher’s unions were against anything good and the governor as usual backed them up and his useless policy proposals were deleted from the final omnibus education bill as they have been for the past several years. No surprise there.
The Senate controlled by Republicans had a new chair this year. Sen. Chamberlain whom I actually like and for the first time gave discipline disparities hearings. Sadly, that is all there were – hearings, where parents spoke about their experiences and we, were told thanks for sharing your story. If I hear one more legislator tell me – thanks for sharing your story, I am going to scream. Chamberlain wanted public funds to go to private schools which of course hell will freeze before the democrats vote for that. Chamberlain said if you want X then take my Y. Neither x nor y went anywhere and all policy parts were sadly taken out of the final bill.
The House controlled by Democrats as usual preached sugar, sugar, and more sugar. They had more hearings on education disparity issues, pretended to care, but when the rubber needed to meet the road sided with those blood-sucking teachers unions and threw the kids under the bus again. Rep. Davnie is the finance chair; ultimately he had the final say even though Richardson chaired the policy committee and Pinto the early childhood. In case, you are wondering why the house has three committees for work that the senate does in one committee then you must not know how dflers function. Lots of hoopla with nothing tangible for communities of color.
Education Minnesota headed by Denise S who rules with an iron fist mostly stayed behind the scenes but her words bled into every committee and every decision including the final ones. No surprise there.
Administrators and lobbyists – this year, they did not send their usual lobbyist, instead principals and others testified but the message was the same which was as cold as Minnesota ice.
In summary, telling our stories about discipline disparities has not worked. I am not sure if it will. Voting for legislators who look like us does not always work as well because when they get there – they become spineless and worthless. Unless you are one or two and those are picked on by the majority of that party.
So what now? I actually have no idea. I do know that insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results. We have to come up with different strategies as current ones are not effective. I thank Education Allies team who were relentless in providing data and facts that no one can deny. I thank Solutions not Suspensions’ parents and advocates whose testimonies were inspiring and heartbreaking, sadly it was not enough to sway the legislators and/ or the leadership. If there was one suggestion that I can think of now would be next year is an election year for many of them including all of them in the house. I say we vote out the speaker (Melissa H) from Brooklyn Park. Getting a minority person isn’t always the better choice. We need someone with a spine and backbone to represent that city and all of our communities. Voting for the same people and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. I know she takes pictures with communities of color, but that is it. Her policies are as harsh as needles.
Finally, Minnesota is the only state in the country with a divided legislature. Having a one-party rule in both will not be better. Think about it. If the GOP is in power in both chambers, discipline disparities issues will not prevail. If the DFLers are in charge will be even worse because they will eliminate charter schools, protect the teachers, preach sugar, and practice salt.
As usual, the above words do not reflect any agency, candidate, or committee.
Idil – Somali Autism Mom