Integration Task Force Meeting: 24 January 2012

NOTE: These are not official minutes, these are very biased and raw notes. Don’t expect fairness, balance, or completeness! I am just trying to be quick at communicating what is happening on the task force. Initials generally refer to task force members, a list of whom can be found at the official task for website. …Eric

ST asks what are common themes and common elements. Both he and RE have revised proposals. Will look for areas of convergence and divergence.

Much smaller group today. Only ST, PS, KK, HB, RB, RE, MO, AB

RE reports that subcommittee met with Tom Melcher and MDE about funding. Says that district budgets sent to MDE may not effectively represent integration dollars. Instruction 30% of $90m, etc. Detailed budgets for districts not accounted for in integration summaries. MDE is also just now putting in a system that will measure achievement tied to integration dollars. The intersection of MCA and reporting system in place is not in place yet.

MO questions the value of this report at this stage and wonders if subcommittee can report in writing to the full committee. Notes that past administration clearly didn’t hold districts accountable and current administration struggling to put accountability in place.

RE says that MDE is trying to put accountability measures in place. MDE will share a draft policy statement and present a full report at the next meeting. RE thinks that means that the finance side of today’s discussion should be off the table pending this report.

HB and MO appreciate the information but concerned that train may be moving a bit fast given that finances drive policy. PS reminds the task force that only one document will go from the task force to the legislature.

Fresh drafts from PS and RE passed out.

Integration Improvement Proposal PDF, by co-chair Peter Swanson

One Minnesota Proposal PDF by co-chair Scott Thomas

PS shares “Integration Improvement” with principles of: do no harm, achievement, accountability, honesty, freedom, alignment, inter-district equity.

Do no harm includes
– non-disparagment, means not insulting cultures. PS calls white privilege discussions insulting and inappropriate, equates them with Don Rickles.
– no stereotyping
– integration within school, not encourage racial isolation within schools
– encourage progress
– avoid unintended consequences of soft bigotry and low expectations

Achievement includes
– measurable academic achievement, no funding if your gap persists, you get money for success
– progress for all groups, even if gap continues, as long as everyone improves that should be part of the measurement
– MO asks for lots of examples, college prep courses, kids gaining comfort around other races
– HB expresses concern about metrics

Accountability includes
– use money as intended, not on other things that would have happened anyway

Honesty includes
– don’t supplant other occupations
– don’t close the washington monument, don’t blame things you would have done anyway on this task force or new policy
– be clear about why some districts maybe getting differential treatment, be clear about grandfather clauses or weaning actions

Freedom includes
– carrot rather than stick
– student and parent freedom, full parental consent, referencing an Eden Prairie “underground railroad” situation which “can be found in the blogs”
– teacher freedom, opt out provisions for teachers, non-disparagement
– HB raises concerns about non-disparagement and the notion that telling of facts will be comfortable, says she can never support being a minority of a minority
– PS says he is a minority of a minority, parental consent, children are forced to be in school under the power of the state and be told “you have to learn how it feels” no tax dollars of mine, no integration dollars, PS starts getting quite passionate about this point.
– HB pushes back with best practices, be cautious about saying that things that make people uncomfortable in an educational setting are problematic
– PS says, fine, do it,but don’t use integration dollars to specifically target and disparage people, don’t do the blue eyes and brown eyes experiment

MO points out positives, the assurance that funds be used on integration, the non-supplantation, …

PS if districts are going to use integration dollars on something other than AVID and reading, then it can’t be used separating people.

AB asks if we are worried AB making kids feel uncomfortable or teachers feel uncomfortable? If teachers, then they are not being adequately prepared. This topic will make people uncomfortable, no matter what, which is why the teachers role and facilitation and skill are so important.

PS, we can talk about facts without disparagement. He really wants to outlaw blue eye/brown eye!

KK asks if we are speaking with the voice of the sixties instead of the voice of today’s youth. Today’s youth are completely comfortable with all races and backgrounds. Understand PS concern about propagandistic false history intended to inculcate vulnerable kids. Objects to $30k Eden Prarie unground railroad project. Quotes from Glen Singleton’s book, about the ideal educator, the truly difficult work is looking deep within myself at where my white privilege resides… That is the problem and what PS proposal avoids. Claims his book is used widely and this is a problem.

PS asks does it help to harangue or rub people’s nose in historical truths that don’t serve a purpose now.

Alignment includes
– programs outside racial integration should not be included, like “girls in science”, no mission creep
– preparing for a global world, does not everyone need this, why is this limited to racially isolated or adjoining districts?

Inter-District Equity includes
– similar districts getting similar results should not be getting different amounts of money
– reasonable to ask whether schools not subject to integration rule should receive integration funds
– reasonable to ask whether non-district school like Perpich Center for Arts Education should be permitted to receive integration funds

HB expresses concern about the global world provision

MO points out that kids going to very white schools do exhibit more evidence of racial bias than kids who go to integrated schools. KK says that would be highly disputed.

KK asks what it means to say that different groups really have different cultures that we need to learn about. Everyone is inculturation in our homogenizing culture. How does sitting next to someone with a different skin tones help. ST offers to take KK out for coffee, “that’s not on the agenda right now.”

MO says that KK keeps raising issues that don’t have any basis in fact or research. Cites chambers of comers and military as evidence of integration aiding work. HB also chimes in against KK. The gloves are starting to come off, how do they resolve this in two weeks?

KK complains that the learning gap is getting lost in this conversation.

Now HB gets passionate about the reality of racism in America. I can’t pretend this is not happening, it is real. These structures are almost in concrete.

ST share his “One Minnesota“…

Way too fast for notes…

3.a. Integrated learning environments. Includes magnet schools as an option, transformative to their communities.

3.b. Parent engagement, including parenting classes, cultural liaisons, promotion of school choice

3.c. Professional development, including cultural competency training for staff

3.d. Access to opportunity, including things like AVID, dual enrollment, etc.

3.e. Increase diversity of teachers and administrators, develop recruitment and retention

RB asks whether ST intends to support parenting classes to help parents navigate the schools system. ST, yes. RB asks for clarification on non-supplantation. ST says ELL or history books would be supplanting. RB asks for clarification about Area Learning Centers. ST says he mean to eliminate the exemption that prohibits ALC’s (which are often quite segregated) from receiving funding.

RB states that parental involvement is key, and pops up in all his research.

AB asks about teaching teachers how to read, like in Florida. ST points to his focussed literacy instruction training (3.c.i.).

RE asks about a few specific points in ST proposal. 2.a. and a discussion of whether MDE staff are “dedicated” to integration. 2.b. and reference to “research component.”

KK is concerned that a district could end up spending no money on the classroom. MDE staff point out they could spend only 10% on administration.

RB argues that attention should be focussed exclusively on achievement gap and (missed it)

Continuing discussion of ST draft. Lots of KK pressure?

ST affirms that next week the task force has to define clear measures.

KK says that if we could incentivize success we should not need any requirements, we could just reward success.

RE points to his proposal which has reward of this sort based on the Florida model.

AB asks members of the task force to reflect on their personal biases.

END OF NOTES, more about the task force on our Integration Revenue Replacement Advisory Task Force page.