Friday, November 26, 2010

School Board delays vote to close Cityview: TIME TO MOBILIZE FOR OCT 7th BOARD MEETING

Last week, the fate of Cityview K-8 school was all doom and gloom. The Minneapolis Board of Education was supposed to vote Tuesday night on a recommendation to shutdown the school and turn it over to a privately managed charter operator. Instead they voted five to two to delay the vote till their December 7th meeting. This was clearly a temporary concession to the pressure felt by the Board from the throngs of Cityview staff, students, parents and community members who came to demand that the District keep the school open. It is now essential to use the days before December 7th to organize a massive community protest at that Board Meeting. We can see from the effort to save North High that the District only responds to mass protest and pressure.

check back here at for updates, more information and upcoming events.

Friday, November 19, 2010

URGENT ACTION: Another North Side School Closing!!! Rally to Save Cityview K-8 at the School Board Meeting Where the Vote is Scheduled!!!

URGENT ACTION: Another North Side School Closing?!?!
Rally to Save Cityview K-8
At the School Board Meeting Where the Vote is Scheduled!!!

Tuesday, Nov. 23
4:45pm – 6:00pm

Invite your Facebook Friends

The Minneapolis School District is set to vote on closing Cityview K-8, one of the last remaining North Minneapolis public schools, and plans to replace it with a privately managed charter school. But teachers, parents, students, and the community are fighting back! On Thursday Cityview teachers voted 46-1 to call this rally. They are mobilizing parents and the community to stand up against the continued privatization and dismantling of our public education system. 

Text from teacher’s leaflet

Closing Cityview and changing it into a charter school is not the answer our community needs to help all children be successful in school and in life!

Teachers, students, and families want a chance to be a part of solving the issues surrounding Cityview. They want to share its successes as well! Many believe a wrap around community school would be a great solution for Cityview. The School Board has not asked the families or teachers about solutions. We want a voice in the decision-making!

Join other families, community members and teachers on November 23rd at a rally to let the MPS School Board know their current plans to close Cityview are not acceptable.

The closing of schools on the North Side has to end! Our community needs strong public schools that are fully supported by our MPS administration – not schools that have been handed over to others.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

THIS SATURDAY: Save North High Coalition Community Organizing Meeting

Community Meeting to Discuss Our Next Steps

Saturday, November 20
2:00pm - 4:00pm
Zion Baptist Church

Last Tuesday the community campaign to stop the closure of North High School won a partial victory when the Minneapolis Board of Education voted 4 to 3 to keep North High open another year if the community could recruit 125 9th graders to the school by March. While this is a tall hurdle for our community campaign to overcome, the Board's decision provides a new window of opportunity to continue to organize to save our school! This victory shows that when we organize, we have real power.
This Saturday lets come together as parents, students, teachers, alumni, and concerned community members from across the Twin Cities to map out our next steps to keep this school open and revitalize public education on the North Side and beyond. We need all hands on deck and all voices at the table this Saturday to collectively create a student recruitment plan, a political strategy, and to take the lead in creating a community-led vision for revitalizing North High School.

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Committee for North High |
North High Alumni Association  |  612.715.2527
Friends of North Foundation  |
Public Education Justice Alliance of MN  |  952.465.5307
Updates @

Paul Thomas: The Corporate Takeover of American Schools

The Corporate Takeover of American Schools

The trend for appointing CEOs to the top jobs is symptomatic of a declining commitment to public education and social justice

by Paul Thomas

The top positions in state education across the US – for example, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, recent chancellors Joel Klein (New York) and Michelle Rhee (Washington, DC), and incoming Chancellor Cathleen P Black (New York) – reflect a trust in CEO-style leadership for education management and reform. Along with these new leaders in education, billionaire entrepreneurs have also assumed roles as education saviours: Bill and Melinda Gates, and Geoffrey Canada.

Gates, Canada, Duncan, Klein and Rhee have capitalised on their positions in education to rise to the status of celebrities, as well – praised in the misleading documentary feature Waiting for Superman, on Oprah, and even on Bill Maher's Real Time.

What do all these professional managers and entrepreneurs have in common?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

URGENT: Solidarity to Save North High - phone/email blast to Board of Ed and Superintendent TOMORROW & TUESDAY

URGENT SOLIDARITY - please copy, paste and forward below solidarity appeal far and wide

Please e-mail the members of the Minneapolis School Board and call the Superintendent this Monday and Tuesday (November 8 and 9), and demand they keep North High School open.

The Minneapolis School Board is voting this Tuesday, November 9th, on a proposal from the Superintendent to close North High School. This follows years of school board decisions that weakened North High, including closing local feeder schools and eliminating a “home zone” of students assigned to North. The Superintendent is proposing a plan that would prevent 9th graders from coming to North next fall, and promoting a privately-managed charter high school instead.

The north Minneapolis community and other supporters have come together to form the Save North High Coalition to demand that the Superintendents proposal be rejected and that North High stay open. Below is the resolution that the Coalition has created for the School Board to vote for instead of the Superintendent’s, and below that is the contact information for the School Board members and the Superintendent!

Whereas MPS Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson has recommended that her administration work in partnership with school and community stakeholders to create a new North High School Program that would launch in the fall of 2012, and

Whereas the community has made clear its commitment to work with the District to rebuild and reinvest in North High School, and

Whereas changes in the Choice is Yours program will result in a renewed pool of potential 9th graders in Minneapolis in the Fall of 2011, and

Whereas, students, parents, teachers, and the community are central to building not just a program, but a culture of learning.

Therefore be it resolved, Minneapolis Public Schools will keep North High open and commit to rebuilding and reinvesting in the school and community, and

Be it further resolved, The MPS District will actively recruit and enroll 9th graders and other high school students for the fall of 2011 and beyond; create elementary and middle school pathways to North High; re-establish a North High home zone, and

Be it further resolved, the MPS District will work with students, parents, teachers, and the community to develop an aggressive, fully-funded plan to boost academic excellence and enrollment at North High School.

School Board members – e-mails:
T. Williams -
Tom Madden -
Chris Stewart -
Carla Bates -
Jill Davis -
Lydia Lee -
Peggy Flanagan -

Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson
Phone: 612-668-0200

Please send them a message respectfully calling on them to support the resolution from the community and keep North High open! If you want to add more, here are some talking points.

Talking Points:
- We appreciate Superintendent Johnson’s commitment to working with the students, parents, teachers, and community to build a new program at North, but community and District efforts will only succeed if there is a new 9th grade class next fall.
- Rebuilding North High school with a student body in place has a great chance to succeed; preventing new students from coming to North for a year will effectively close the school.
- With changes in the Choice is Yours program coming this year, fall of 2011 will be a vital time to recruit new 9th graders. Otherwise, we will lose students to charter schools.
- 9th grade is when students connect to their school, the vast majority of students won’t want to switch to a new high school (no matter how great) if they have developed friends and connections in their ninth-grade school.
- Preventing 9th graders from enrolling at North will send a message to current students that their school is closed and they will transfer. Who wants to be the last kid in a school that seems to have been abandoned?

In Solidarity

TUESDAY: Rally to keep North High open at the School Board Meeting! Fight for a quality public education for ALL children!

Rally to Save North High
@ Board of Education Meeting
Tuesday, Nov. 9th
4:30pm: Rally Outside School District HQ
5:30pm: March into the Board Meeting
807 Broadway Ave NE, Mpls
Superintendent Johnson made an announcement Thursday that promised to put together a new program at North. However, no details were provided and no new 9th graders would be allowed to go to North in 2011.  There was nothing in the statement that would lead us to have any faith that things have changed. It's an attempt to confuse and disorient supporters of North High, hoping we would go away instead of continuing the fight.

Let us not be fooled!
The School Board will vote this Tuesday November 9th on the proposal to close North High. It's more important than ever to step up the mass community protest to demand:

·         Withdraw the proposal to close North High and commit to re-investment in the school. 
·        Allow 9th graders in 2011-2012, reestablish a home zone and build pathways (elementary and middle schools) to North High.
·         In partnership with parents, teachers, and students, develop an aggressive, fully-funded plan to boost academic excellence and enrollment at North High.
Subscribe to listserv for announcements:
Committee for North High |
North High Alumni Association  |  612.715.2527
Friends of North Foundation  |
Public Education Justice Alliance of MN  |  952.465.5307
Updates @

Thursday, November 4, 2010

MEL REEVES: Stand with North High students to save their school

An open letter to the community

As most folks know by now, there has been a recommendation to close Minneapolis North High School. However, 265 young people have taken a stand and have committed to fight to keep their school open, and a few hundred community folks and teachers have stood with them and, in some cases, stood in for them.

If these children have the intestinal fortitude to stand up for themselves, then who are the rest of us not to stand with them?

What’s important for the community to know is that North High has not closed, and despite rumors about what “they” are talking about doing, there has only been a recommendation. So, many of your fellow community members have rolled up their sleeves and begun to organize protests and other tactics and strategies to ensure the school stays open.

Some say we ought to just give up, and that the closing of North is a bygone fact. Pessimism and fatalism are perfectly understandable, considering the David and Goliath relationship we have with the “system,” with the community usually playing the role of David. We have a history of bad and sometimes racist policies shoved down our throats.

So it makes sense that some folks are apathetic. But Biblical scholars would tell you that the Davids win every once in a while, and they don’t win by not fighting!

In fact, it appears that it was the protest by more than a few hundred parents, students and community members that caused the board to take a more conciliatory approach and agree in principle to work with the community on a proposal that would enable North to stay open. For the record, the protesters did so in a very dignified and disciplined manner.

What may pass for undignified and even disingenuous conduct are Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson’s claims about why she suggested that North be closed.

While the superintendent said that North’s enrollment was too low to sustain it, it was the Minneapolis School Board that turned North into a relatively small 500-student school.

It was the school board that failed to promote North while taking away its more attractive programs. And there are persistent rumors that some parents were in fact discouraged from sending their kids to North.

The superintendent also failed to inform folks that North High, unlike the other schools, did not have a “home zone.” That means that even kids living across the street from North were not required to go there, but were assigned to Henry instead.

It’s also important to note that nearly half of the students at North are in the high-achieving International Baccalaureate Program. Despite rumors to the contrary, the vast majority of the 265 are not failing; only five to 10 percent of the students are struggling academically.

And while there has been much fanfare about bringing in the Noble Charter Schools, they are not even close to the panacea they promise to be.

According to a national study — the CREDO study conducted by Stanford University — only 17 percent of all charter schools actually exceed the performance of the public schools they replaced, and 37 percent performed worse than the public schools they replaced. The other 46 percent remained at the same level as the public schools.

Sports teams that find themselves behind late in the game spend little to no time looking back. Instead they focus on the task at hand — winning the game — which in our case is reaching the goal of keeping North High open. In the same sense, pointing fingers at parents, the community and the students at this point does no one any good. Either help us win or stay on the bench (preferably quietly).

Historically, finger-pointing and naysaying only encourages our enemies, as
evidenced by the Star Tribune’s article entitled “Loving North from afar.”

The story, written with the help of Strib hatchet man Steve Brandt, is a prevarication and a not-so-subtle slap in the face that somehow blames the Northside community for the failure of the Minneapolis School Board.

And make no mistake, it has always been protest in some form or other that has helped win struggles in the past. Those who are criticizing the protests only prove that they are poor students of history.

History indicates that all of the progress that has been made by Black folks in this country, as well as others, have indeed come ultimately through some form of protest. I am reminded of the words of Frederick Douglass, who said, “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.”

They have closed Lincoln, Willard, and too many other schools. Shouldn’t we say, “No more”? Join the young people who have said they want to be educated in this city, by this school board, at this high school. History should record that the Northside community stood with them.

Mel Reeves is a longtime political and community activist who lives in Minneapolis. He welcomes reader responses to

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Reformers Win Round One in D.C. Teachers Election

By Howard Ryan, Labor Notes

Monday, November 1, 2010

NOV. 9TH @ 4:30PM Tell the Board of Ed: Don't Close Our Schools! Fix them! No to Privatization!

Rally to Save North High
@ Board of Education Meeting
Tuesday, Nov. 9th
4:30pm: Rally Outside School District HQ
5:30pm: March into the Board Meeting
807 Broadway Ave NE, Mpls
Despite widespread community protests, the School Board will vote November 9th on the proposal to close North High. Now is the time to step up the community pressure to demand:

·         Withdraw the proposal to close North High and commit to re-investment in the school. 
·         Reverse the decision to open two “Minneapolis College Prep” charter high schools.
·         Re-establish a “home zone” for North High to boost enrollment. 
·         In partnership with parents, teachers, and students, develop an aggressive, fully-funded plan to boost enrollment at North High.
·         Support the efforts of North teachers, parents, and students to address academic and enrollment concerns by re-organizing North as a democratically managed community  school.
Subscribe to listserv for announcements:
Committee for North High |
North High Alumni Association  |  612.715.2527
Friends of North Foundation  |
Public Education Justice Alliance of MN  |  952.465.5307
Updates @