You are on page 1of 2

Dear Minneapolis Public School Board Directors

We hope this message finds you well. We are writing to you on behalf of the Black Advocates for
Education, a grassroots group of community advocates seeking equitable outcomes for children of color
in our public school system.
As you may be aware, we have raised concerns when we have seen issues of inequity within Minneapolis
Public Schools, and we have also made suggestions that could be helpful in addressing long-standing
We respectfully submit to you our top priorities for your consideration as you transition to new district
Superintendent search: The resignation of Superintendent Johnson presents an opportunity to set a
new path toward higher achievement for Minneapolis Public Schools. The past six superintendents have
been novices with no experience in being solely responsible for leading a school district. We urge this
board to break that cycle and obtain the fully credentialed, experienced leader that our students deserve.
While it is still relatively early in the search process, we would request two things:
1) A robust national search. The magnitude of challenges facing the District will require a cadre of
highly talented individuals with significant experience in helping to transform school districts. As
stated above, in previous years, the most recent appointees to the role of Superintendent have
not had prior experience running a school district. We would like to see that trajectory changed in
order to ensure that our candidates are highly skilled, competitive, and bring in perspectives and
experience from outside of the District. We understand that not everyone will agree with this
perspective. However, we feel that it is important to have alternative viewpoints at the table.
2) Community-driven process. We would like to see participation by community stakeholders,
representative of the students and families of Minneapolis, involved in the superintendent search.
In the past, MPS has been challenged in its ability to achieve authentic community engagement.
However, we ask that you use this process to ensure community members are involved in key
Office of Black Male Student Achievement: Last year, we asked for additional funding to support the
Office of Black Male Achievement; an effort we believe holds promise in shifting the paradigm for black
boys in the District. We want to thank the members of the school board who supported the allocation of
an additional $1 million in funding to support that work. As we made clear during our previous meeting
with Michael Goar, we would like to see the establishment of a community stakeholders group to support
Michael Walker and his efforts and to serve as a sounding board as things move forward.
Equity and Achievement Committee: It has come to our attention that the MPS board of education has
reduced its committees and consolidated power into the hands of the board chair and district staff. This
upward power shift has reduced board and community representation of marginalized constituencies by
eliminating the Equity and Achievement committee that was established so there would be district/
community accountability for district-wide equity efforts. The results have been unacceptable and equity
efforts in the district have been stalled. We request that you reverse your decision to eliminate this
committee and commit to an equity partnership between the district, the board, and the community that
holds all parties accountable to transforming MPS for the benefit of all children.

We view these recommendations as the top priorities that will make a material difference in the lives of
MPS students who are experiencing the most significant challenges. We would like to work collaboratively
with you to improve educational outcomes for children of color and all under-resourced students. Finally,
we request a response to this letter and an opportunity to meet with members of the school board.
Thanks in advance for your consideration.
Nekima Levy-Pounds, on behalf of Black Advocates for Education