Local lessons: Five case studies in community-driven education reform


Despite the rhetoric from national school reformers, with their grand plans to overhaul education, some of the most successful education advancements come when we listen and work with students, parents, and teachers. Minnesota 2020’s latest report examines five examples where community-driven education reform helped make a positive change in learning.

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Lesson 1:
Grand Rapids, Hibbing, and other districts brought the University of Minnesota’s Principals Academy program to their region, to respond to the need for developing their schools’ human capital.

Lesson 2:
Rochester’s Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Project partnered with the local teachers’ union, Rochester Community and Technical College, and others to improve teacher training in identifying and responding to the effects of military deployment on students.

Lesson 3:
The challenges brought about by anti-LGBT bullying in Anoka-Hennepin may be part of a broader national trend, but coming up with the right response for the school district required the activism, leadership, and ideas of local community members.

Lesson 4:
After tornadoes devastated north Minneapolis, schools were one set of anchor points in the community. When communities act to strengthen their schools, they build public institutions that help their neighborhoods respond to many different kinds of problems.

Lesson 5:
The Saint Paul Federation of Teachers’ decision to fight both constitutional amendments in 2012, while supporting their local school levy, came from the knowledge that these statewide issues were of immediate significance to students and families.