As one of nine Board members at Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS), this blog is a platform for my perspectives on community as a mother, teacher and policymaker. I do not speak for the Board; that is the role of the School Board Chair. Rather, this is an opportunity to offer a perspective when I, as a board director, feel that we, as a school board, have fallen short. With this goal in mind, I present Why We Can’t Wait blog #6.
Based on the Minnesota School Board Association (MSBA), the roles of the School Board and Superintendent of Schools is clear; the board governs, sets expectations and parameters by 1) evaluating results, 2) ensuring accountability, and 3) adopting policies while the Superintendent manages, provides leadership and supervision by 1) monitoring progress, 2) implementing plans, and 3) developing plans.
These roles are separate and distinguishable.
What becomes less clear or what requires transparency is the responsibility of the School Board as well as the Superintendent when the governance or leadership fundamental to these roles falls short to produce the expected outcomes, even with the best intentions.
Over the past several months the public in Minneapolis Public Schools has told us unequivocally that we have fallen short. They have expressed concern, requested meaningful community engagement, and demanded accountability focused on topics such as Weighted Student Funding (WSF), cellphone towers, principal leadership selection process, removing private school students from MPS Sports, partnerships with Charter Schools, class size, and contracts with community organizations.
For each of the topics listed, I asked critical questions at the beginning of discussion. However, I did not consistently make explicit how the implementation would be measured and reported with the public in public. This was my personal shortcoming. I believe that this is also a shortcoming for the board as a whole.
Quite honestly, the culmination of broken promises bring us to a situation that is no longer about doing better, rather it’s the realization that better is just not good enough and excellence is required.
Here’s how based on Board Authority to Ensure Accountability:
- Evaluate results must happen in public with the public and requires a) consistent measurements, b) clarification of expected outcomes, c) comprehensive view of the school district, d) demographic data for our students, and e) alignment with the Strategic Plan/Acceleration 2020,
- Ensure accountability must happen in public with the public and requires a) public responsibilities, b) board governance, and c) superintending evaluation, and d) teacher/staff commitments,
- Adopt policies “[that] support the academic success of students and are informed by citizens, parents, students and district staff.”
http://policy.mpls.k12.mn.us a) policies should focus on ends, not means; b) approved policies must be connected to desired results, c) policy implementation must have clear measurements and reporting expectations (What School Boards Can Do, McAdams, pp. 99, 101, 107 & 110).Here’s an opportunity to continue the conversation tonight:
MPS Board of Education Regular Meeting!
John B. Davis Education and Service Center
Special School District No. 1
1250 West Broadway Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55411
Meeting Agenda, BoardBook Packet and Minutes (updated the Friday, 12p before the Tuesday Board Meeting)
THANK YOU for your commitment to Minneapolis Public Schools and holding your School Board and Superintendent accountable to keep our promise to the city of Minneapolis.
I hope to see tonight!