Put the CDD on Hold Until Distance Learning is No Longer in Place
MPS Educators, let the Board of Education and the District know that they need to put students first.
The Minneapolis Public Schools Board of Education and District leadership are choosing to move forward with the Comprehensive District Design (CDD) in the midst of a major public health, economic, and moral crisis. A delay on voting until May 12 does not give our families, students, or educators enough time to add their input, as we are all literally trying to survive and adapt to a new way of life.
Given the level of uncertainty in daily life that has been introduced by COVID-19 and the many unknowns about public education in particular, we find it unthinkable to move forward with the plan.
Like educators nationwide, we are currently adapting to the new realities of education under the changes wrought by COVID-19, in addition to worrying about the well-being of ourselves, our families, and our students. We are struggling to connect with students and families who do not have access to the necessary technology for distance learning and who are facing very real social and emotional barriers to learning. We’re grieving the loss of our ability to share space and time with our students, especially in a time when tragedy will only increase in the coming weeks and months.
Despite the feelings of grief and fear that surround this “new reality,” many educators in Minneapolis are currently engaging in honest conversations about the complexity of the CDD, modeling the process that we wish our district administrators had undertaken with staff, students, and families. The district has elected to move forward with the CDD approval with severely limited input at public meetings, even as conditions for all of us have changed dramatically. This does not signal to educators, students, or families that a focus on equity is at the center of this plan.
The district is rightly concerned about the alarming opportunity gap and the grossly unfair resource gap between white students and students of color, both of which result from decades of structurally racist policies and practices. As educators, we confront these realities every day and we are desperate for a real plan to change them. However, the district itself admits that the main result of the CDD process, which includes the restructuring of schools across the city, the shifting of thousands of students to different schools, and the relocation of certain programs to different geographic locations, will be to bring the percentage of students of color in a given school under a very high threshold. This is hardly a comprehensive shift towards real equity in Minneapolis.
For all these reasons, we, as educators, call on the Minneapolis Public Schools District to put deliberation and decision-making about the CDD on hold until such time as the pandemic has ended and students and educators have returned to face-to-face learning, or no sooner than September 2020. The effort currently being expended on the CDD process can be turned to other pressing equity concerns the district is currently facing, including ensuring the food security of every MPS family; providing technology resources to every student who is engaged in distance learning; and settling a contract with Education Support Professionals (ESPs) that provides a living wage and a guarantee of employment for the duration of the crisis. Additionally, we echo the request of other community leaders who have called for an outside equity audit of the CDD process and proposal.
From: [Your Name]
Colleagues, please sign and share this far and wide. As educators we have an enormous amount of work we are taking on, while reinventing the way we teach (and how our students learn) overnight. So many of our students still do not have access to technology and yet, the Board of Education is moving on, business as usual. Our students deserve more!