Thirty-five mayoral candidates remain on the November 5th ballot in one of the most hotly contested races for mayor of Minneapolis in decades. Minneapolis will use the ranked choice voting process, also called instant-runoff voting, to enable each voter to choose up to three candidates for each office and to prevent the need for a run-off or primary elections. Before you head to the poll on November 5th, take time to familiarize yourself with each candidate’s stance on key city issues, consult the Star Tribune’s profiles on each candidate or read MPR’s interviews with a handful of the thirty-five candidates.
Thank you for taking part in the discussion on food insecurity.
Most MN schools have free lunch programs. The students that participate in the free lunch program are also eligible for free breakfasts. Unfortunately, less than 10% of the eligible students receive free breakfasts. Send a letter to Dr. Cassellius, Minnesota’s Education Commissioner encouraging better participation in the free breakfast program.
You can make your voice heard in three easy steps that take less than 5 minutes:
- Copy the letter below
- Sign the letter
- Email the letter to Dr. Cassellius, Minnesota’s Education Commissioner, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Brenda Cassellius
Office of the Commissioner
1500 Highway 36 West
Roseville MN 55113
Dear Dr. Brenda Cassellius:
I am a member of the Junior League of Minneapolis and a firm believer in eliminating the youth achievement gap in Minnesota. I strongly believe that our children are ultimately responsible for the future success of Minnesota and the United States and that it is our generation’s responsibility to ensure that future generations receive a fair and strong start in life.
One such way we can provide a strong start for our children is to ensure that all children receive a healthy breakfast. Therefore, I encourage this Department to implement and/or increase in all Minnesota school districts student participation in the USDA-funded free school breakfasts for students who qualify.
The research and facts support that free schools breakfasts positively impact children, families, local businesses, and society as a whole.
- [i]In Minnesota, only 39 percent of the breakfasts that are available to students through the free school breakfast are actually served. That translates into a “missing meals” gap of more than 29 million meals.
- Our failure to implement/increase free school breakfasts costs Minnesota $48 million in unused federal and state reimbursement dollars on the table.
- Our failure to take advantage of this program also costs local businesses approximately $23 million in profits that could be spent on food.
- Research conducted by the University of Minnesota (along with numerous other local and national organizations) demonstrate that students who eat breakfast (whether at home or through the free school breakfast program) perform better on standardized tests, have better attendance records, have fewer behavioral problems, lower their risk of being overweight or obese, have higher graduation rates, increase their earning potential, build better lives for themselves and their children, and decrease society’s unemployment rates.
Therefore, I petition this Department to implement free school breakfasts and/or increase student participation in free school breakfasts for all qualifying students. Working together, we can continue to build a better and stronger Minnesota. Thank you for your time.
[i] All statistics are from the MN Children’s Defense Fund: School Breakfast Initiative. http://www.cdf-mn.org/programs-campaigns/school-breakfast-initiative/
On Tuesday, October 8th, the Minneapolis School District published a revision to its Equity and Diversity Policy (Policy 1304) in an effort to address the achievement gap. One key revision was the development of an Equity and Diversity Impact Assessment which measures policies that have a direct impact on student education and provides insight as to how these policies affect student learning. The policy also calls for an increased number of partnership with outside organizations (e.g. non-profits, businesses, government agencies) in order to meet established equity goals.
A Star Tribune poll of 800 Minneapolis voters, conducted in early September, found that education was the single most important issue in the city.
Although the Mayor of Minneapolis has limited direct control over the city’s school system, the issue took top priority at the first mayoral debate on Monday, September 16th at the Mill City Museum. The debate, sponsored by numerous education reform organizations including Teach for America, focused on education policy within the Minneapolis school system. The six mayoral candidates, who took part in the debate, largely agreed on a majority of the issues which included a reduction in standardized testing and a limitation on out-of-school suspensions.
New accountability ratings released from the Minnesota Department of Education announced that seventeen schools previously identified as “priority” or low performing schools would no longer carry the status. Additionally, ten schools designated as “focus” schools would no longer carry the designation due to substantial achievement improvements among all students.
Department of Education Commission, Brenda Cassellius, noted that the step-change is evidence that the state is closing its achievement gap:
“Today’s release is about the hard work taking place every single day in our schools to ensure the success of each child. It is because of the inspiring commitment, dedication and collaboration of teachers, support staff and school leaders that we are seeing improvements in our Priority and Focus schools.”