What’s Behind the Exodus of Black Students from Public Schools?


For a number of years, public education has been of utmost importance to those in the black community. This is partially because black access to equal public education was a hard-won victory procured by the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision.

But lately, black families appear to be questioning whether public schooling is the proper education model for their children. This is evident in the rising number of black families choosing to homeschool their children and in the large numbers of African Americans who support choice options such as vouchers and charters.

The most recent evidence of the distrust black families have toward public schools can be seen in Minneapolis. According to The Star Tribune, the district has experienced a heavy exodus in recent years, much of it driven by black families:

“But now one-third of Minneapolis’ school-age children go to charter schools or public schools in other districts, a trend that raises long-term questions about the district’s financial future. Black student flight accounts for more than half of all kids leaving the district, out of proportion with the 43 percent of the school age population they represent.”

Black Students Leave Minneapolis Public Schools

Why is this drain taking place? The Star Tribune mentions three reasons.

1. Poor Environment
According to many black parents, the environments offered by their district public schools are not the type of atmosphere in which they want their children to be. Many are scared by the fights and behavior issues they see and hear about in public schools. Many black families are also headed by single parents, and as such, see the value of putting their children in a smaller, family-like environment which will fill a void in “nurturing.”

2. Dismal Academics
Although the alternative schools to which black families are sending their children are not always high-achieving in the academics department, they often outrank the district schools they left behind:

“On average, math scores for black students are 10 percentage points higher in the schools that Minneapolis black students are leaving for, than for black students staying in the district.”

Clearly, black parents are recognizing that choosing the best possible option, even if that option isn’t the most stellar, is better than leaving their children in a far less rigorous environment.

3. Ignored Parents
Perhaps one of the most interesting reasons cited for the flight from Minneapolis Public Schools is the fact that parents feel they are treated as an after-thought and left in the dark as to how their children are doing:

“Lynda Nwonye is a downtown Minneapolis mom whose son is a fifth-grader at Best Academy, a charter school on the North Side. She moved him there because of her grievances over communication and other things with Minneapolis Public Schools, and said she won’t come back.

The thing that I really like about his school is they give you an overabundance of information,’ she said.”

These three reasons for the black flight from Minneapolis Public Schools are revealing, particularly when viewed in light of school finances.

According to the Minneapolis budget for FY 2017, the district spends almost $24,000 per student. Because many of the alternative schools to which black parents are sending their children are charter schools, the children automatically receive a cut in the tax funding spent on their education. As a 2014 research report explains, Minneapolis charter schools receive 34 percent less funding than their district counterparts. Based on current spending levels, parents that choose to send their student to a Minneapolis charter school take an automatic cut of over $8,000 in funding.

Clearly, black parents are recognizing that it is more valuable to provide their children with a better, safer education which they can actively monitor, rather than one which is amply funded, but doesn’t meet the aforementioned desires.

And as more parents march with their feet and choose alternatives, one can only wonder: Are the days of traditional public schools numbered? Is it time to rethink how we educate American children?

This post What’s Behind the Exodus of Black Students from Public Schools? was originally published on Intellectual Takeout by Annie Holmquist.

This was reposted.  The original story was published on September 20, 2017


It isn’t Logical to not teach Logic in Modern Schools

Logic is More Important than Ever – So Why Don’t Schools Teach it Anymore?

One of the great ironies of our age is that schools have stopped teaching logic in an age when it’s more necessary than ever.

We live in a time defined by vast information, mass marketing, and propaganda. It’s been 70 years since Dorothy Sayers observed that by teaching young men and women to read but not think, “we have left them at the mercy of the printed word.”  She continued:

“By the invention of the film and the radio, we have made certain that no aversion to reading shall secure them from the incessant battery of words, words, words. They do not know what the words mean; they do not know how to ward them off or blunt their edge or fling them back; they are a prey to words in their emotions instead of being the masters of them in their intellects.”

Unfortunately, things have only gotten more complicated since Sayers wrote these words in 1947. With the advent of TV, the internet, social media, and smart phones we’re peppered by a continual stream of messaging from people, corporations, and organizations. They tell us what to buy, desire, and think—all the time.

“There’s a clear need for people to think more clearly in modern life and they need the tools to do that,” says Stanford computer science professor Michael Genesereth, author of a new electronic textbook. “Logic is one of those tools. And the need for it grows more important as these kids move on to college.”

Despite this need, few people reading this article have a single school in their district that offers instruction in formal logic. Why?

In her essay, Sayers said the disrepute into which logic has fallen is “entirely unjustified.” But she offers two explanations for why it happened.

The first reason is that modern man has been led to believe that “we are conditioned almost entirely by the intuitive and the unconscious.” The second reason is we’ve come to believe that universal assumptions are either unprovable or mere tautologies.

Both arguments are weak, Sayers points out. The former is a self-fulfilling prophecy (is there a better way to create human drones than denying them the tools of reason?); the latter ignores the fact that logic is primarily a tool to detect and expose bad arguments, not a device to establish a perfect moral order.

There are many reasons to teach logic to young people: it improves speaking, reasoning, and civil discourse. On the other hand, I can’t identify a single valid reason to deny students instruction in logic.

In an era in which the phrase “fake news” is commonplace and demagogues spread falsehoods with shameless ease, the teaching of logic to young people would seem a no-brainer to Americans of every creed, ideology, and political party. Am I wrong?

This post Logic is More Important than Ever – So Why Don’t Schools Teach it Anymore? was originally published on Intellectual Takeout by Jon Miltimore on August 7, 2017. Reposted by GregCopeland911.wordpress.com on August 15, 2017.

Raheem Williams: School Choice is not Racist

School Choice and Racism: A Myth Devoid of Context

There has been a lot of recent discussion on the racial impact of school choice. Critics have used research reports to corroborate their claims that school choice increases racial segregation. While these claims have a factual basis, they are in dire need of context.

School choice can increase racial segregation, but not for reasons anyone should fear.

First, we need to differentiate between de facto (by choice) and de jure (under law) segregation. People choose who to openly associate with. This is reflected in the neighborhoods they live in, the clubs they join, and where they choose to work. Forming groups is natural, though occasionally problematic.

As a nation, we fought hard against legal segregation—a fight school choice advocates have no intention of reviving. Today, it is illegal for public schools or schools that receive public funding to discriminate on the basis of race or disability (among numerous other traits). No credible proponents of school choice want to rollback these basic civil rights.

The documented increase in segregation as a by-product of choice exists in a different context than the racial issues of the civil rights era. Charter schools in urban minority neighborhoods often offer an alternative to failing traditional public schools. The harsh reality is that the traditional school district model has failed minorities. Therefore, it is not surprising that alternatives designed to offer more choices to parents and students have disproportionately attracted students of color.

In this way, the segregation effect is no more harmful than that of modern Historical Black Colleges/Universities (HBCU). With their traditional mission to serve black students, these institutions are embraced – not criticized – for the outcomes they offer a historically disadvantaged group. Similarly, the segregation effect of school choice should not be seen as an instrument of racism, but rather as progress against a failing of the traditional public school system.

While there is nothing inherently racist about school choice, there is a subtle, unintentional racism espoused by its opponents. In its purest form, school choice seeks to expand the number options available to all parents and students. However, wealthy families already can and often do practice school choice. They can afford to buy homes in areas with high-performing traditional public schools or send their kids to private school. Without school choice, students from low-income households cannot enjoy these same advantages.

There is a subtle racism built into the assumption that poor people should not be allowed to decide what is best for their kids—a luxury the rich already have. There is a subtle racism in demanding poor children, who are often people of color, be locked into schools we know are failing them.

We have a lot of problems to address in our education system, but racism in school choice is not one of them. It is not racist to extend privileges to the poor that the rich have enjoyed for centuries. It is not racist to increase the autonomy of families to make decisions about their children’s education. It is not racist to empower underprivileged minorities. School choice advocates do not want to destroy public education, they want to save it. In the various debates surrounding education reform, it is important to remember our shared goal. We want better schools that lead to more opportunities for all of America’s children.

[Image credit: By Jbak87 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons]

This post School Choice and Racism: A Myth Devoid of Context was originally published on Intellectual Takeout by Raheem Williams.

This article was reposted from Intellectual Takeout, it was originally published on August 10, 2017.

Raheem Williams is an economic research specialist at the Center for the Study of Public Choice and Private Enterprise(PCPE) at North Dakota State University. He received his B.A. in economics at Florida International University and his M.A. in financial economics from the University of Detroit Mercy. He is the founder of “The Policy,” a forum that promotes public policy dialogue across socio-economic levels. You can find more from this author on the PCPE social mediaplatforms.

Is NPR Pushing Propaganda about the Benefits of Preschool?

 Annie Holmquist | May 4, 2017

The other day, NPR published an article on the benefits of Pre-K education. Highlighting a recent consensus statement on preschool released by The Brookings Institute, the article went bonkers on social media, presumably because of the following announcement:

“Some of the nation’s top researchers who’ve spent their careers studying early childhood education recently got together in Washington with one goal in mind: to cut through the fog of studies and the endless debates over the benefits of preschool.

They came away with one clear, strong message: Kids who attend public preschool programs are better prepared for kindergarten than kids who don’t.

Such a statement is true – the education experts did determine that preschool education does prepare children more effectively for kindergarten. What’s disturbing, however, is the information that NPR withheld from the thousands who read this statement.

According to the Brookings document, the jury is still out when it comes to knowing whether or not preschool education can help children in the years after kindergarten. Some evidence suggests it does. Other evidence suggests preschool has no effect either negative or positive on a child’s future school career. Still other evidence suggests that preschool has a decidedly negative effect. Studies in this latter category include the following:

  • A 2015 NBER paper found that children enrolled in a Canadian childcare program (similar to universal preschool) exhibited greater anxiety, aggression, and crime, while also enduring decreased health and life satisfaction in the 20 years after the study took place.
  • A 2015 Vanderbilt University study found that children enrolled in Tennessee’s state preschool program fell behind their non-preschool peers in both academic and cognitive measurements by the time they hit first, second, and third grade.

These findings are recent and quite troubling. What’s even more troubling, however, is the fact that NPR  – and other news organizations and public figures – seem to push these findings aside, boldly convincing the public that preschool education is a necessary and advantageous path to pursue. It’s as if they are desperate to get children into an institutional setting at the earliest possible age, regardless of whether such a setting is good for them or not.

But then, maybe that is the goal. Early 20th century Princeton professor and theologian J. Gresham Machen once noted:

“Place the lives of children in their formative years, despite the convictions of their parents, under the intimate control of experts appointed by the state, force them to attend schools where the higher aspirations of humanity are crushed out, and where the mind is filled with the materialism of the day, and it is difficult to see how even the remnants of liberty can subsist.”

Is Machen right? Could the effort to extol the benefits of preschool without considering all the evidence be simply another way to get children to march lockstep with the education system’s way of thinking at an ever earlier age?

Read other articles by Annie Holmquist

MELSA’s Transparent Language & Lynda.com Learning a Blessing to Many

Sometimes you don’ t have to look very far outside of a school to learn new things.  Not everything we adults have learned came from the inside of a classroom, sometimes having a zest for learning new things, new things just seem to find you.

If you attend any of the Metropolitan Libraries you may find MELSA’s (Metropolitan Library Service Agency) newest tools for flexible learning on your own time.  There are two such online tools that you can partake of for FREE. That’s right we said FREE.  They are Transparent Language and Lynda.com.

Transparent Language

Transparent Language Online is a powerful language learning system that uses flashcards to teach you a set of words or phrases. It is the fastest possible way to lock foreign words and phrases in your long-term memory.

Once you have created your account you will be able to access Transparent Language Online from any computer with Internet access.
Subscription purchased by the Metropolitan Library Service Agency (MELSA), with funding from state and federal tax revenues.

To access the Transparent Language Account Set Up click here. This access is from Ramsey County.

You will identify your current language then select from a huge array of languages the one you want to learn.  The education course has a tutorial how to use the software and how to interact with it.  You will need a headset with a microphone to practice the spoken word, otherwise you can go around that and listen and practice writing the new words.

It could be a way to help you to prepare for a vacation where English is not the first language spoken, or to converse with a new neighbor who immigrated legally to this country.

How Does One Navigate Transparent Language Online?


Lynda.com teaches the latest software, creative, and business skills. Users will get unlimited access to a vast online library of high-quality, current, and engaging video tutorials taught by recognized experts and working professionals.

Use your library card to login to Lynda.com for free.

To use Lynda.com without the Library will cost you quite a bit.  Thanks to the Library system here and across the country you can learn the latest software for work, school, or just learning something new that is interesting to you.

This is from the About Us section of Lynda.com:

Lynda.com leading online learning platform that helps anyone learn business, software, technology and creative skills to achieve personal and professional goals. Through individual, corporate, academic and government subscriptions, members have access to the lynda.com video library of engaging, top-quality courses taught by recognized industry experts.

For 20 years, lynda.com has helped students, leaders, IT and design pros, project managers—anyone in any role—build software, creative, and business skills. Now part of LinkedIn, Lynda.com serves more than 10,000 organizations. With tutorials in five languages, Lynda.com is a global platform for success.

If you’re wondering what areas Lynda.com can instruct you in here are the categories:  Business, Design, Developer, IT, Marketing, Web, Photography, Video, Audio+Music, 3D+Animation, Education + Elearning, and CAD.

For each learning category there are three areas to explore: Topics, Software and Learning Paths.  In some categories there will be a Guide as well.

In each tutorial you’ll have a video and a text that is highlighted as the audio covers a topic.  You can stop it at any time and review what you just saw.

If say life interrupts your learning. You can log off where you are at and your account will list where you left off and resume after life has settled down.

The tutorials are by people who are credentialed in the field they are teaching.  As there is a need for new software or tools, more tutorials will be created.

The Library isn’t just about books only anymore…but it will always be about learning.  ~~ Publius Jr.




Carl Jackson: Why We Need to Make Politics Local Again

The following article is from the Black Community News website.  It was posted on November 21, 2016 by Carl Jackson.  See Greg Copeland’s comment in the Comment link with the article and included at the end of the article.  All politics is local, and when Congressional District candidates run on things outside the borders of the area they want to represent they create a disconnect from their voters.  What is important to us, might not be important to others around the state or the country.  The common denominator with Republicans is that more Government means less local freedom, so we are for less Government, more local freedom.  ~~ Publius Jr.

voting_3Despite a crushing defeat delivered to Democrats across the country on Election Day, the Democratic analyst sitting next to me at the local Fox television studio here in Orlando, Florida, who once worked as an upper-level staffer for outgoing Rep. Alan Grayson, remained hopeful and optimistic – actually, giddy might be a more accurate description. Another Democratic strategist, also in studio, was visibly upset by the election results but was determined to get right back into the fight. Why? Some local races were going their way.

It’s no accident that the left is out rioting and protesting the results of the Nov. 8 election. They’ve grown accustomed to getting their way over the last 10 years. It also should come as no surprise to us that they’re interested in dismantling the Electoral College, which gives every state a say in national elections no matter its size and population. Additionally, it helps preserve states’ rights and their self-identity by assuring that larger states like California, Texas, New York and Florida cannot shape the political narrative and culture for the rest of the country. However, what you may not realize is that when the left loses a national election, it doesn’t stop their agenda to form a socialist America from moving forward. It just slows it. That’s what I witnessed on full display in studio election night. The left lost big on Election Day, but like Arnold Schwarzenegger, they’ll be back.

I live in Seminole County, Florida, where 15 percent of registered Republicans and 27 percent of registered Democrats didn’t bother to vote in this election cycle because they weren’t excited about their choices for president. Obviously, Democrats sitting out the election at a higher percentage gave Donald Trump the advantage to win the White House, but the low turnout amongst Democrats also allowed Republicans to remain in charge of our state House and state Senate. That may not happen again.

My concern is that the reason so many voters decided to stay home, other than their lack of enthusiasm for our presidential picks, is because they simply don’t know which party runs the state Capitol. In other words, regardless of the impact and immediacy state and local races have on their everyday lives, federal campaigns were the determining factor for why they stayed home. Even though Republicans won most of their races, this is disconcerting to me because many local politicians are running their campaigns based upon national platforms that have little or nothing to do with local politics. This strategy consequently increases government overreach locally because voters aren’t aware whom to hold accountable at home when policies adversely affect their well-being. State politics too often mirror federal elections when the truth of the matter is federal campaigns should take their cue from states.

Based on the number of Democrats that sat out the Nov. 8 election in my county alone, it would be wise for Republicans to trumpet their accomplishments locally, loud and often. Never underestimate the ability of Democrats to quickly turn an entire state blue by enticing out-of-town residents to move into big cities where voters are concentrated. Cases in point: St. Louis, Missouri, Chicago, Illinois, Baltimore, Maryland, and we’re witnessing the same trend take affect here in Orlando’s Orange County where gentrification is on the rise downtown.

In a lengthy column posted on FiveThirtyEight.com a couple weeks ago entitled “All Politics is National,” one of several charts they posted showed that only 76 percent of people polled could identify which party controlled the U.S. House. From that same group of voters, only 47 percent could tell them which party ran their statehouse. That’s a troubling trend for voters like myself that believe in states’ rights. It also explains why the Democratic strategist I mentioned earlier were still hopeful despite losing national elections big. They were comforted by the fact they made some unexpected gains locally and statewide.

As of Nov. 8 Republicans control 68 of 98 state legislative bodies and will occupy 33 of the 50 governor’s mansions. That’s a good thing! However, since voters are more aware of national politics and tend to ignore their local politics, all it takes is one national wave election to totally shift the mood and policies of our country. Frankly, the tendency to run national politics in local districts is a serious threat to the Tenth Amendment no matter which party is in charge.

Besides the ability to practice free religious expression and pursue any dream you hope to fulfill, part of the greatness of America is getting to experience and appreciate the uniqueness of our union from state to state. I’m sure you don’t travel to Texas to experience what it feels like to live in New York, do you? That would be silly! However, it’s exactly what the left wants.

To ignore state and local politics is to nullify American exceptionalism. As conservatives we can’t let that happen. Let’s vow to get to know all of our politicians from the county commissioner to the statehouse and to the White House, and I’ll see you back at the ballot box in 2018.

Originally published at WND.com

Photo credit: lettawren (Creative Commons) – Some rights reserved

CarlJacksonCarl Jackson is a radio talk show host – his web site is www.carljacksonshow.com. Media wishing to interview Carl Jackson, please contact media@wnd.com.

The views expressed in opinion articles are solely those of the author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by Black Community News.

Here is Greg Copeland’s Comment (also in the comments section above)


Carl Jackson is right!

Citizens that ignore their local governments will pay ever higher property taxes for less city services, and put their public school boards in the control of the teachers unions, where the students’ educational needs always come in second to the welfare of adults who work to their contract; not for the taxpayers and the children’s parents.

In my One-Party Town, billed as “the most livable city”, Saint Paul, Minnesota public school students are over 75% students of color as well as students whose families live in poverty, and their academic achievement gap in reading and math has been a national disgrace for at least a quarter century; but the liberal Democrat Mayor Chris Coleman, for all of his nearly dozen years in office, has routinely declared; ‘Closing the GAP Priority #1!’. The routine never ends and the teachers union rubber stamp school board routinely demands more money to spend on adults salaries which of course boosts pay checks, but with no boost in student academic scores.

Citizens need to wake up and vote out the fools on the rubber-stamp Teacher Union-Run Public Education Boards that perpetuate the cycle of Urban Poverty for our poor children caught on a Merry-Go-Round where there is no Public Accountability for the spending or the failure.

There’s Something Rotten at the 1050 Kent St Property

Yes Indeed there is something rotten at 1050 Kent. It is The Saint Paul School Board which has been bought and paid for by Education Minnesota and the Teachers Union Bosses in the Washington DC Headquarters which gave $100,000 to buy the Saint Paul School Board Majority in the 2015 Election, under a fraud on voters calling themselves: The Caucus For Change.

Ironically all four of these Caucus members voted to buy the Polluted Hazardous Industrial site at 1050 Kent, next to Lake Loeb in a residential North End Neighborhood, for $2 Million, after it stood abandoned for over 13 years.  The former industrial site owners admitted to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, MPCA, in 2006 about the pollution and created a ground water monitoring program to track the TOXIC Chemicals on-site and also placed a public deed restriction that would not allow any public school to be built on the property!!

The four so-called Geniuses installed by the Teachers Union ignored the sites Toxic Chemicals, and the pleas by the Neighborhood NOT to Build the $24 Million School on this polluted land. Known as the River East School, it is to be used exclusively for up to 80 students with a mental health diagnosis, served by a staff of 60, all whose health could be at risk given hours of exposure over a 180 day school year.

Now the Teachers Union has endorsed yet another candidate for School Board, Jeanelle Foster, who says she does not have enough information to oppose building the River East School on polluted land. Foster wants to join the quartet of hacks that voted, 4-2 to buy this industrial toxic chemical cesspool with its unknown future legal liability for St. Paul Taxpayers.

The last thing Saint Paul Students, Parents and Property Taxpayers need is another inexperienced novice on the School Board who does not know enough about how to evaluate a proposed multi-million dollar capital construction projects to cast a NO Vote to keep our disabled school children and our staffers safe!

River East School should not be built at 1050 Kent!  We need an independent school board member, who understands public construction projects as former six year member of the Saint Paul City Long Range Capital Budget Committee for over six years which oversaw the funding and/or building of the Wabasha Street Bridge as well as Arcade and Earl Street and the planning for Phalen Corridor as it’s Vice Chairman, Greg Copeland. Greg Copeland was also City Manager of Maplewood where he over saw millions in residential street reconstruction project and city building maintenance projects.

Under the mounting public pressure of Community Opposition and the November 8 2016 Special School Board Election the school board last week said after spending thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours of staff time that it would delay the start of construction for one year.  A moral victory for Students, Staff and Taxpayers, but a “delay” is not a vote to rescind the Board’s Vote to spend $2 Million Dollars to buy this Toxic Site.

Greg Copeland has pledged he will make the motion to stop this public health and safety disaster and fiscal descent into a sinkhole of legal liability for city taxpayers if he is elected to the School Board on November 8th!

Saint Paul School Board Candidate

Pioneer Press St Paul School Board Candidates Survey on Greg Copeland

This was taken from the Pioneer Press Candidates Page (http://www.twincities.com/2016/10/07/election-2016-st-paul-school-board-candidates) for the Special Election for St Paul Public Schools Board of Education.  They did not post his picture even though they have had his photo on file back to 2013. ~~ Publius Jr.

Greg Copeland

  • Age: 62
  • What qualifies you to hold this position? Saint Paul Taxpayers need an Independent Advocate on the School Board to be their Watchdog and to blow the whistle on what has become a School Board that is the captive of the Teacher’s Union, which spent over $100,000 to buy four seats in the 2015 Election. Group-Think in our Public Schools does not embrace Our City’s Diversity.
  • What would your top priorities be if elected? 1. Hire a New Superintendent. 2. Create an Education Plan for each individual student to ensure their personal, academic & career goals will drive their course work. 3. No Property Tax Increase! Fund Student Achievement! Make Academics Priority #1 by cutting spending on Central Office Administration & The Million Dollar Race Equity Office.
  • What do you think is the primary role of government? Our Republic must preserve Liberty! Justice Charles Evans Hughes wrote; “… imperative is the need to preserve inviolate the constitutional rights of free speech, free press, and free assembly in order to maintain the opportunity for free political discussion to…be responsive to the will of the People, and that changes, …may be obtained…”
  • Website or contact: GregCopeland911.wordpress.com

Ben Shapiro: White Privilege, Multiculturalism, and Other DFL-leftist Myths

On September 21, 2016, Ben Shapiro spoke to students at Yale University about “White Privilege, Multiculturalism, and Other Leftist Myths.”  This video is a bit over an hour but it addresses the myths that the DFL in this state create to ensnare voters and trap students in a cycle of despair.

The St Paul Public School Board enabled former Superintendent Valeria Silva to spend up to $3,000,000 for Racial Equity Training to be done by the Pacific Education Group based in San Francisco, California.  What this means is that like Jean O’Connell they believed that the achievement gap was due to race instead of the overwhelming number of students who come from households that are at or near poverty incomes.  Jean said that she isn’t colorblind when it comes to testing. She just presumed that the non-caucasian students would do poorly.

Pacific Education Group “trains” teachers and other staff in the district’s administration to understand about White Privilege.  Really the for profit group should be renamed the Pacific Brainwashing Group.  They are not anywhere close to an educational organization.

This video exposes the myths that the Leftists in Education have been telling for years and have been getting away with…and with your tax dollars.

Do we add another DFL Mythmaker to the St Paul Public School Board, or do we break this cycle of dysfunction by electing someone who will reverse this slide of expensive failure?

Greg Copeland Talks about Education with Hmong on Oct 16, 2010

It’s been 6 years since Greg Copeland addressed a forum put together by the Hmong American Veterans Association and the Capital City Business Council at “Downtown Lav 52 Km” Restaurant at the Days Inn Maplewood.  This Hmong Community Forum was for candidates to meet the Hmong Community.  At the time the Senate District 66 seat was held by entrenched career politician Ellen Anderson and Greg Copeland was the Republican endorsed Candidate.

Candidate Greg Copeland talked about the opportunities that the Hmong People had been given and how their hard work had blossomed in the areas of business and in education–particularly in charter schools.  Greg Copeland then talked about how the State of Minnesota, and the City of St Paul have disrespected Hmong business owners who had businesses on University Ave by taking away parking in favor of a Light Rail line.

Greg Copeland talks about other issues that face Hmong and other people being that it is a forum for Minnesota Legislative Offices.

He talks about how he thinks, “Government can be a Bully,” but ironically they are pushing to end bullying in schools.

Years later at a St Paul City Council Meeting Greg would stand up for Arjo Adams who was eventually run off his property because the City called St Paul wanted to put in a new access to the Bruce Vento bike trail.  Arjo was a bit eccentric but he was not what the bullies on the City Council portrayed him to be.  The code enforcement inspectors “found” things that gave the City cause to condemn then knock down Arjo’s house.  It is much like the health inspection case Greg talks about in the video below.

Greg Copeland is a fighter, a champion for the people, and for kids who just want to learn without being beat up or threatened; or told they can’t achieve because of the color of their skin or what country their parents came from, or that their parents can’t afford all the technological gizmos other kids have.

Kids and Teachers deserve someone who will stand against “The Other Party,” to hold the St Paul Public Schools Administration accountable for their actions.

Vote Greg Copeland on November 8, 2016.

Why Do We Need Another Like Minded DFLer on This School Board?

We have a clear cut choice this November 8th.  Do we elect more education insiders, or members of the teachers union, or do we go with someone who is tired of seeing property tax levies increase for a school district that has seen a steady decline in the number of children who can function properly in society beyond the walls of St Paul Public Schools?  Graduating 75% of the students is not good enough.  That means 25% are doomed to fail.

Greg Copeland thinks that the students in St Paul Public Schools are being underserved by a top down school district that spends money on Race Equity Training for students when that money should go directly to the classroom for better trained teachers and school counselors.

Parents have opted to send their children to some place other than St Paul Public Schools because the current school board wants to keep dangerous students that are violent, bring guns, and sell dope at schools.  Those students are not tossed out to protect the students who do want to learn, and teachers who want to teach and not cower at their desks to the threats of mobs of students that might beat them up and leave them with a brain injury.  The Teachers Union group that took over the board last year didn’t bring change until it was obvious when teachers and students are being beaten up that something or someone had to go.  All throughout the 2015 Campaign the 4 DFL endorsed candidates kept saying they weren’t going to expel students that were violent, nor were they were going to fire Silva.

It isn’t just about student violence, it is becoming a hostile learning environment for Students of Faith.  Students who know that the Inclusive Policy on Transgenders is wrong and when they speak up saying that it is wrong they are the ones who are called to the principal’s office.  Why should girls have to put up with boys who want to use their bathrooms or locker rooms. Why should Students of Faith stay?

Josh Verges, the education reporter for the St Paul Pioneer Press, wrote an excellent report on Sept 16, 2016, on why families are choosing to take their children out of the St Paul Public Schools for schools that are safer, have challenging academic standards, and an approachable staff.

We have not altered the content of the article.  We did turn off links and deleted ads.  ~~ Publius Jr.

Why are families leaving St. Paul schools?

PUBLISHED: September 16, 2016 at 8:05 pm | UPDATED: September 19, 2016 at 12:55 pm

After two false starts, St. Paul Public Schools has quit trying to figure out why families are leaving the district for other schools.

The school board declared enrollment to be a priority soon after four new members took office in January. But the first budget they passed — which prioritized direct school funding over district-level support — has undermined an effort to understand why students are enrolling in charter, private and neighboring schools.

Jackie Turner, chief operations officer, said the budget cuts forced the placement office to lay off the employee who administered a first-of-its-kind survey to families that left the district during the last school year.

“The position has been cut. This was not something that the community supported. Our community really wanted money to go to the schools,” Turner said in an interview.

Board chairman Jon Schumacher said he’d like data on what attracts families to the district and what’s pushing them away.

“I’m interested in understanding what our strengths and what our challenges are as a district,” he said. “These are all numbers that are really critical.”

But Schumacher stopped short of saying he’d push to make sure there’s money for surveys in the next budget.

He said school principals would be another source of information on what’s causing people to leave.

K-12 enrollment has been fairly flat in recent years, down 153 in five years. But it’s fallen far short of internal projections as St. Paul students have opted instead for charter schools and suburban district schools.

Their departures have exacerbated budget woes. The district now is preparing for a third straight year of spending cuts.


The district began conducting exit surveys under the previous school board.

Turner told the board in spring 2015 that they would survey the parents of the 147 kindergarteners who had left during the school year but still lived at the same address.

“We want to use that data to better inform how we work with our schools,” she told them.

That small effort begat a more comprehensive study into the motivations of 1,790 families that withdrew their 2,243 children from district schools between October 2015 and March 2016.

Beyond learning why they left, the district sought to make contact with individual families and discuss how they might bring them back. But the effort fell flat.

The district got responses from just 101 families, a 6 percent response rate. And of those, 40 families said they withdrew because they moved to a home outside St. Paul, making them unlikely candidates to return to a city school.

Turner identified some additional flaws in the survey’s administration: surveys were not sent immediately after a family withdrew; they were sent out only in English; and the district didn’t have the available staff to follow up with families.

The data they were able to collect, through multiple-choice questions, pointed to familiar themes. Parents cited safety concerns, unresponsive staff members and a lack of rigor in the classroom.

“I don’t think it provided the results that we were intending to receive in order to use it as a document to determine the reasons why families left,” Turner said.

Why They Left St Paul Public Schools Bar Graph

Turner said the district would have refined the survey for future years but doesn’t have the people to do that work.

“This would have gotten better each and every year we would have done it. We didn’t have an opportunity to do that,” she said.


Joe Nathan, founder and senior fellow at the Center for School Change, said stakeholder surveys are a basic function for an organization. He said that beyond the reasons families pick district schools or don’t, the board should understand what parents think of arts classes, special education support and parent training programs, for example.

“I think it’s very important for the system, if it wants to grow, to understand the specific concerns,” he said.

Monica Haas, a parent who fought to protect schools from budget cuts this year, said surveys are worth the cost if they ultimately boost enrollment.

“If you look at the amount of money we’re losing just based on enrollment … that money alone is worth putting some actual effort in looking at why people are leaving,” she said. “But you have to do it in the right way.”

Haas moved three of her daughters out of district schools before they reached middle school.

She said one daughter was threatened with a hunting knife by a child who was back in class the next day. Another daughter’s teacher suggested they try a different school because with other high-need students in class, she didn’t have enough time for the girl. The third, she said, spent a day shadowing her assigned middle school and was unimpressed by what she saw.

“I still hold out hope for my youngest daughter,” now a third-grader, she said.

Haas, who was running in the special election for school board until she failed to secure the DFL endorsement, said she’s heard a variety of concerns from other parents. Whether it’s elementary arts classes, special education services or smaller classes for English language learners, they are issues the district can and should address, she said.

“There are very specific reasons why these families are bolting,” she said. “I really want this district to succeed, and I don’t think they can do it unless they really look at why people are leaving.”

Soucheray: It won’t make any Difference who the Super is. No Difference at all

This story was copied from Joe Soucheray, a columnist at the Pioneer Press.  The story was originally published in the Pioneer Press on June 17, 2016.  We have not altered the content, but have closed some links and added a different headline.  ~~ Publius Jr.

St. Paul Public Schools superintendent Valeria Silva is interviewed in her office in St. Paul on Friday, February 5, 2016. (Pioneer Press: Jean Pieri)
St. Paul Public Schools superintendent Valeria Silva is interviewed in her office in St. Paul on Friday, February 5, 2016. (Pioneer Press: Jean Pieri)

Soucheray: Another search. Another superintendent. Another member of the Super Club.

By JOE SOUCHERAY | jsoucheray@pioneerpress.com
June 17, 2016

What can be said on Valeria Silva’s behalf is that it won’t make any difference who succeeds her. That isn’t exactly the gift of a gold watch, but as a school superintendent who might get bought out of her contract, she can buy a watch manufacturing company.

It is called the Super Club. Most of us have been on to it for years. School superintendents have a better gig than NFL coaches and are surrounded by at least as many assistants, sycophants, factotums and manservants. Supers come into your town and tell you important things about the community and how they intend to have the students rise above the fray. They tell us that we all have to work together and believe in the great promise of education and, oh, by the way, we need more money. Soucheray

Supers are rainmakers. They always need more money.
Silva isn’t at all unique. She can be a super with the best of them. They are all untouchable and they all land on their feet. You might say, well, they are touchable, because they can be removed by school boards. Yes, and then comes the landing-on-their-feet part. Silva succeeded Meria Carstarphen. They all last about three to five years on average, though Silva has outlasted the average. Their act wears thin and new school board members who are eager to tell us that they know what they are doing better than the super start grumbling, and the next thing you know, the taxpayers are on the hook to buy the super out of a contract.

Carstarphen went from St. Paul to, I believe, Austin, Texas, and is now the super in Atlanta.

It doesn’t make any difference. A great fuss and bother will be made to hire a consultant and scour the nation for the next best answer, and it just doesn’t make any difference.

Silva is being held accountable by a grumbling school board for falling reading scores and student violence. What was Silva supposed to have done, visit each home in the city and read to a kid? Falling reading scores are an inattentive parent problem.

Silva presumably can be held accountable, at least in part, for the appalling increase in the lousy behavior of students. She had to be a part of the brain trust that bought into a San Francisco consultant group called the Pacific Education Group. They came in here and sold a bill of goods that said, basically, if a minority kid acts up, it isn’t the minority kid’s fault. It is the fault of systemic racism and therefore the kid should be excused and not too severely disciplined.

That works real well. You would think that after a few teachers suffered concussions after fights with violent students, they would dump that horse manure, but that’s not what supers do. When you get in the Super Club, you defend tooth and nail your brilliant decisions, even when they are complete failures.

Oh, it is a wonderful, exclusive club. In the first place, once you are a super, you are rarely seen by the public. Carstarphen lived on Summit Avenue near Fairview. I know a guy in that neighborhood who knows everybody in that neighborhood, one of those guys. He never once saw Carstarphen, not even out for a walk. Not once.

Supers surround themselves with about 100 assistants, each of whom has a clipboard and a laptop and are on alert to tell the super when to go to her next meeting. Even as Silva’s buyout is being considered, the district faces a $15.1 million deficit. Nevermind that that is inexcusable. You want to know where you could save the money? Go to 360 S. Colborne St., the district castle, and thin the herd of redundant bureaucrats and administrators. That’s another thing supers do. They bring in more people to pile on top of the people that the previous super brought in.

Go ahead and buy her out for $600,000, a longevity bonus, a car allowance and 32 vacation days. She might even have to emerge at some school as a teacher or an administrator, but that part of her contract is unlikely to be realized. She is, after all, a super.

And then get ready for the next expensive dog and pony show which will be exactly like all preceding dog and pony shows.

It won’t make any difference who the super is. No difference at all.

Joe Soucheray

Our Schools need to Embrace Capitalism & School Choice.

This is from Star Parker’s Urban CURE website (Center for Urban Renewal and Education).  The content hasn’t been altered, only color and font type have changed for emphasis and some parts of Star’s column are set aside in quotes for emphasis as well. ~~ Publius Jr.

New evidence supporting school choice

Why should our education system be shielded from capitalism, the competitive forces that produce excellence?

By Star Parker | Syndicated nationally by Creators

A groundbreaking new study from the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas provides state of the art data showing the benefits of school choice.

The bottom line: When parents have choice where to send their child to school, their children perform better in reading and math tests.

Patrick J. Wolf, one of the authors, summarizes the results:

According to their “meta-analysis of 19 ‘gold standard’ experimental evaluations of the test-score effects of private school choice programs around the world. The sum of reliable evidence indicates that, on average, private school choice increases the reading scores of choice users by about 0.27 standard deviations and their math scores by 0.17 standard deviations. These are highly significant, educationally meaningful achievement gains of several months of additional learning from school choice.”

The idea of school choice and school vouchers was pioneered in the 1950s by Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman. However, it has not been until recent years that the idea started picking up steam.

According to Wolf, “there are now 50 private school choice programs in 26 states plus the District of Columbia. Well over half have been enacted in the past five years.”

About 1.3 million students are in these programs, compared to 50 million students enrolled in our public schools.

There are various approaches to providing school choice: vouchers, education savings accounts, tax-credit scholarships and individual tax credits and deductions.

There has been much back and forth over recent years, with various studies claiming to show no benefits from school choice and even negative effects. Other studies have shown positive results and are supportive. The authors of this latest research report their results with great conviction and feel they have produced the most comprehensive, thorough, and unbiased work on this subject to date.

But no matter. Those opposed will most likely stay opposed because, like in many, maybe all, areas of public policy, it’s really about interests and ideology and not about science. Those who want to keep things the way they are will ignore studies and research or find ways to rationalize why the results are not conclusive.

However, a black mother, whose child is trapped in a failing urban public school, doesn’t need research to inform her that it is a good idea to give her control to pull that child out of that school and send him or her to a different one. It’s obvious.

Capitalism works so well because failure is punished and success is rewarded. Why should one of the most crucial institutions of our society — our education system — be shielded from the competitive forces that produce excellence? Why should failure be allowed to go on forever just because unions have power and parents don’t?

Furthermore, when we measure education we look at test scores in reading and math. But education is about more than reading and math. It is about transmitting principles and values. Where are the tests that measure whether children are learning the right values?

The progression of court decisions over the years extracting any trace of religion from public schools correlate with changes in attitudes among our youth about sex and family. Back in 1962, when prayer was banished from public schools, less then 10 percent of our babies were born to unwed mothers. Today, it is 43 percent.

Over the same period, the percentage of black families headed by a single parent jumped from 20 percent to 70 percent. In these troubled communities, the option to send a child to a Christian school, to learn and digest Christian values, can be a lifeline to the future. Why in our free country should this be prevented?

Now we have powerful research showing that competition improves test scores in reading and math. This just bolsters the intuitive notion that parents should have control over where they send their child to school.

Star Parker

Greg Copeland on the Record with the Villager, More than Qualified to Serve on the SPPS Board

This post is the answers Greg Copeland gave to Kevin Driscoll at the Villager on Sept 6, 2015.  Sometimes these reporters pare down the good parts of candidates replies to just 200 to 400 words.  We feel you’ve been cheated so we are adding the full replies. ~~ Publius Jr.

#1. Experience Advocating for Poor People & Making Institutional Change Will Make Greg Copeland a Good Choice for School Board

I am a sixty year old widower with one adult stepson who is a carpenter living independently. I am a homeowner living just off Payne Avenue for 23 years in a neighborhood that fully reflects both the ethnic and economic diversity of  the Saint Paul Public Schools, whose student majority reflects my neighborhood; low income and people of color, with children attending traditional East Side public schools or one of numerous publicly funded charter schools.

My first job after college was as a newspaper reporter covering public schools where I won an award for my coverage of teacher contract negotiations from the Florida Teaching Profession-National Education Association. While deputy director of a multi-county Community Action Agency I developed a Young Adult Conservation Corps job training program in carpentry and masonry for unemployed youth 16 to 22 years old which also required high school dropouts to complete their GED.  I assisted in administering Head Start, Meals-on-Wheels and congregate dining programs for the elderly. I wrote federal and state grants to provide unemployed adults job training, the elderly and disabled with transportation to doctors and shopping, low income energy assistance, home weatherization, and a community food pantry.

I served as a contract compliance officer for community college based job training programs and as a recruiter for a private industry-public partnership on-the-job training program.

I was the primary caregiver for my wife Betty, for 16 years following her disabling on-the-job crash in which she sustained a traumatic brain injury and numerous other physical injuries. Betty, a Professional Dietitian who provided staff training and public health inspection services to institutions and private businesses before being rear-ended by a careless driver,  founded Minnesota Hugs, a nonprofit to aid American communities hit by natural disasters

I served as City Manager of Maplewood, then Minnesota’s 18th largest city with a population of 36,000, over two budget cycles; in the first year my recommendation to freeze tax rates was approved by city council as was my recommendation to reduce tax rates the second year. During this time I reorganized city departments eliminating administrative positions and internally promoting a record number of long time city personnel to more responsible positions. I used the budget reductions and new grants to increase police on the beat by 10%, hire more full time EMS  personnel and expanded the city’s citizen staffed pay-per-call firefighters and EMS ranks; all without one dime of Local Government Aid (LGA).  I also hired Maplewood’s first full time code enforcement officer. While there were objections to these administrative reductions from some remaining department heads who formed their own union;  six other city union bargaining units got 3% raises and the police got slightly more

I ramped up the city’s residential street paving program doing two years of work in one year. Won a $1.2 million Met Council redevelopment grant to assist in building new streets and utilities to help transform a dilapidated mobile home park into a taxpaying multi-million senior residence. Worked to protect the sensitive habitat of the Fish Creek Nature Reserve in the Mississippi River Corridor and to place city parks in a public trust to keep them from being sold in the future for development. Funded a plan to clear of a backlog of years of neglected building maintenance.  While I was City Manager Maplewood was open for business; the city welcomed Costco’s new store, a renovation plan for the Maplewood Mall, a new 3M corporate training facility was built, and Menards and St. John’s Hospital expansions went forward.

My record of volunteer service includes my appointment by then Gov. Bob Graham, later  U.S. Senator from Florida, a Democrat;  to the Board of Trustees of  the Pasco-Hernando Community College for four years. I am a former Chairman of the Saint Paul Charter Commission and member for 12 years. I was on the Saint Paul CIB, Capital Improvement Bond for six years and served part that time as Vice Chairman.  I have been active with the Payne-Phalen District Council elected president twice and to multiple terms to the Board of Directors, I am now only on the Community Planning Economic Development Committee.

 #2.  Yes WE the Voters Can Fire Silva !  Enough Is Enough!  

My goal in this election is to build a  Citizens Coalition to elect a new governing majority on the Saint Paul School Board that will have as its first mission the hiring of a new Superintendent of Schools. Voters must reject the one- party model that has controlled School Board and their decision to hand Superintendent Silva a Sweetheart Contract. Silva’s new three year contract extends to December 2018 well past the terms of office of all the school board  members that voted for it on March 17, 2015. Even the terms of the two board  members, Chue Vue and Jean O’Connell who are not up for election this November have terms that will end in 2017; a full year before the final year of Silva’s 2018 contract

There is no accountability in an election for School Board when Superintendent of Schools Silva gets a free pass from her friends in the party in power because they know the jig could well be up.  The good news is there is one member of the Board, John Brodrick who voted against Silva’s new contract.   There are at least two candidates running for the Board, myself and Aaron Benner [says he won’t serve even if elected] who have publicly pledged to terminate this ill-conceived political protection plan for Silva; which Silva herself all but threw under the school bus days after it was passed by Board, when she decided to apply for Superintendent of Palm Beach, Florida Public Schools. In an odd twist it took Mayor Coleman to publicly persuade her to withdraw her application.

Any School Board, including Saint Paul’s has but one primary mission: hire the best Superintendent the district can afford. On March 17, 2015 the current DFL controlled Board robbed the voters of Saint Paul of their right to elect four new School Board members to make that decision in 2016. Silva’s then-current contract was set to expire in December 2015, just days before the new School Board would be seated. They did wait for the question of Silva’s retention to come up for public discussion.  The current Board exercised what it thinks is a veto over you and all the other voters as well as the new Board for the sole purpose of protecting Silva at the expense of the children’s future

I urge voters to use their ballots on November 3, 2015 to end this high stakes politics of one party control over our Saint Paul Public Schools by adding real diversity of  views to the Board to ensure a new leader is selected to move our schools out of the basement that Superintendent Silva’s record exemplifies.

Here are the facts from the Minnesota Department of Education, MNDOE, website showing the absolute decline of Saint Paul students On-Track for Success.

In 2010 54.5% of students were On-Track For success in Math by 2014 it was only 41.6%; that is a 12.9 point slide in just four years. In reading 53.3% of Saint Paul students were On-Track  for Success in 2010, in  2014 Saint Paul was well off track, falling by 11.8 points in 2014 to 41.5%.

Take a look at the 2015 MCA’s. Proficiency in reading is in the cellar as the “GAP” between white students and backs is now 33% points wide, 31% for Hispanics 29% for American Indians and 13% with Asian students In Math the “GAP” between white students and Blacks was 37%, Hispanics at 31%, American Indians were 33% and Asian students had a “GAP” of 9%.

Silva’s Strong Schools, Strong Communities Plan has especially failed our children of color. In 2014 the MNDOE says 175 or 8.65% students dropped out of Saint Paul Public Schools: 50 were Black, 63 were Asian, 35 were Hispanic, 5 were American Indians and 22 were white,  and 165 of students who dropped out were economically disadvantaged. If Saint Paul Schools had just met the statewide graduation rate of 81.2% in 2014, 151 more Saint Paul students would have received their diplomas; sadly that did not happen, only 75.6% students graduated in Saint Paul. In 2014, 412 or more than 15% of  class were not graduating, but were said to  “continue”

This results are unacceptable. These results are the strongest argument for terminating Silva’s contract without further delay. We need to change this educational leadership crisis at the polls; our children, our city and state, America can’t tolerate this rate of  educational dysfunction in the 21st Century. It is economic folly to pretend otherwise, and a cruel hoax on those children left  out of any opportunity for a good job or further education. We must elect a wholly new School Board majority that will take the courageous actions needed to hire a new Superintendent for Saint Paul and buy out the Sweet Heart Contract so wrongly and cowardly awarded last March.

#3.1 Replace City Wide Elections with Ward Based  School Board Elections & Reform School Board Public Meeting Procedures

Reform the School  Board election process. In recent years the City Wide  School Board election process has left the East Side and the West Side without adequate representation. Those who have been elected are disproportionately from economically more well to do zip codes, in  Wards 3, 4 and 5.  One East Side board member is not enough and there is no board member from the West Side. Unfortunately this pattern was again enshrined with the DFL endorsed candidates; none is an East Sider or a West Sider, the poorest and most diverse parts of the city have no vote and no voice on the Board from their neighborhood.

I propose a simple remedy, let’s  elect our school board members from each of the city’s seven City Council wards.  This will ensure a fair geographic distribution of School Board members from all parts of the city and it will reduce the advantage and/or need for big money in the school board campaigns by reducing the voter population of each district or ward to only one-seventh of the city, rather than candidates  having to make their case to every voter.

Other Board process reforms I would initiate are complete televising of all Board meetings from begin to end. Elimination of the “Committee of the Boardmeetings now held out largely out of public view . Committee work or workshop meetings should take place in public and be televised.  A meeting of the School Board is a public meeting under MN Law no matter what the Board  chooses to call it.

Public comment/testimony should be given and heard by the Board in a meaningful manner with respect.  Comments on  agenda items pending before the Board  should be made during action on that item.

The Board should give consideration to holding meetings around the city when a subject of special concern arises in order better accommodate the public and encourage people to directly participate. Listening to the people takes time, good representative government is built around a deliberative process,  we should embrace that process, even if it takes more time and may be uncomfortable for some elected officials use to the old ways

3.2 A Modest Proposal to Decentralize Schools, Invest in Guidance Counselors to Give All Students an Individualized Education Plan  & Spend the Money in the Classroom

Academic challenges abound in any school system, but given Saint Paul’s last five years the Silva top down, centralized model of insisting teachers teacher the same thing in every classroom on the same day has dramatically  failed. Where is the respect for teachers professional creativity? Where is the flexibility teachers need in a classroom where the ability of individual students varies so widely?

Education is like many things in life, having an Individual plan works better for each of  us because we don’t all share the same approach to life’s challenges given the variation of resources, skill sets, sex, age, ethnic heritage, life experience and many other variables.   Our choices are ours to make and all Parents, well to do or poor, should have the full range of Saint Paul’s educational opportunities available for their children.  I would propose to decentralize and eliminate of the Silva attendance zones and offer full  school access using practical public transportation options, i.e. school bus or van, or public transit to take the burden off parents working shift work or multiple part-time jobs or having responsibilities to care for non-school age youths or sick relatives.

Merging of all children by grade regardless of their unique educational needs makes no sense and degrades the academic performance of students, adding to class sizes and makes for unnecessary complication of  classroom discipline  and teacher planning and effectiveness.   I support an education model  tied to the unique needs of every child, whether they are  an English language learner, a special education student, gifted in a vocational education class or in Miss Jones Physics class.

We need every student to have an Individual Education Plan created in a hands-on consultation with the parents, teaching staff and guidance counselors to ensure that the academic goals for each child are met and any GAPS are addressed with tutoring and other interventions before the MCA and other tests are taken by students. Evaluation, monitoring and updating the Individual Education Plan to ensure proficiency at grade level is a continuous process comparable to a doctor assessing and treating their patients of any age according to their unique individual needs

The American School Counselor Association calls for a ratio of one guidance counselor to 250 students; Saint Paul is at approximately 435 to one counselor. I would propose to add to the present 85 counselors in the system over time as funds became available from system wide spending reductions in administrative costs, grants are obtained, new funding from legislation and of course elimination of failed, costly Silva era programs such as those operated by the Pacific Education Group.  Additionally, the $9 million annual technology levy funds should be re-evaluated to be used to support active use of  the Individual Education Plan process. No new funds or property tax levies will be required.

Saint Paul needs a  Citizen School Board that is committed to putting money into the classroom as its first priority. I embrace the leadership displayed by the interim Minneapolis Superintendent’s decision to eliminate 120 administrative jobs to fund his reform strategy.

The 2016 budget repeats the same pattern of spending as Silva has adopted for years, spending too little on students in the classroom.  Only 48.22%  the $525.3 General Fund or just $253.3 million is being Directly Allocated to Schools.  I support a policy that allocates the Maximum dollars possible to the classroom for student instruction. In the future teachers and classroom aides will not be the first cuts made as has been the case under the current Board.  Budget reductions must be made starting with Central Administration. On top of my list is a  full examination of the $176 million School Support Services budget and District-wide Support Services budget of $92.1.  Together these two parts of the budget account for over 51% of the General Fund.  The next Board in order to fund new priorities for raising student academic achievement and promoting safety in all classrooms will have to go through these funds with a fine tooth comb to spend more dollars on direct student guidance and instruction

#3.3 Spend  Title I  & MN Compensatory Funds On the Economically Disadvantaged Students Who Earned Them & Accept Help from Commissioner Cassellius

Both Congress and the MN Legislature  sent approximately  $93 million dollars to Saint Paul Public Schools due to the poverty that grips the lives of 73% of the 37,859 children enrolled in our Capitol City’s public schools where 27,716 got free and reduced lunches. I want to be sure that the $70,297,543 in MN Compensatory dollars allocated to Saint Paul and earned by our poor children in the state education formula is spent directly on them.  These are the students that need the extra attention and clearly the money is available, but how is it specifically being spent?  Parents of poor children I talk to are constantly being told by school administrators we don’t have the money to meet their children’s needs. I tell them not buy that old line; there is a $697.8 million budget

Brenda Cassellius, Minnesota’s Commissioner of  Education  said on Sept. 1 that Minnesota will not meet our state goals to close the achievement gap unless “we see significant improvement in Minneapolis and Saint Paul student performance.” Commissioner Cassellius was referring to the fact that 38 St. Paul and 36 Minneapolis Schools scored in the bottom 25% of the 2015 Multiple Measurement Ratings (MMR) and not one Saint Paul School was among the “reward” schools whose economically disadvantaged children finished in the top 15% of schools with a model of improved achievement that can shared with others schools. The Good News is there were six St. Paul Schools that are in the next 25% best MMR scores and are now eligible to apply for “Celebration” schools status.

The most disturbing news however was that Saint Paul was not participating in and had no intention of sending their staff to the MN Department of Education Regional Centers of Excellence that provide staff training that has resulted in a significant lift in student performance at many schools outside the two core cities.  A Saint Paul Public Schools official told local media “we” did not have to “go outside the district” because they were relying on their own staff; really!   This kind of unapologetic arrogance is the problem with the Silva administration. They will never admit what legislators and educators else where in Minnesota already know; Saint Paul, with some notable exceptions is operating as a failed system for many poor children and students of color. I refuse to accept that it has to be this way, there is nothing a new strategy a good game plan could not fix.

I for one pledge to work with the Minnesota Department of Education to get all the help our children need. I am not waiting for the election results to do so either, I was recently appointed to the MN Department of Education’s  Committee of Practioners, COP, that works on improving the Federal Title I Programs that sent $23 million to Saint Paul Schools this year to assist our poorest children. I hope we can obtain some additional resources to work  for Saint Paul Students

Saint Paul School Board Candidate

Copeland: Only Candidate who Supports Expulsion of Student Terrorizing Class with Loaded Gun

This was copied from the Pioneer Press Nov 1, 2015 Opinion Page.  It is odd that of all the candidates’ letters, only Greg’s is not listed as an actual candidate in the signature line.  You would think that because the Editorial Board endorsed the Teacher’s Union Slate, it’s okay to check the other candidates into the boards.  This isn’t hockey. ~~ Publius Jr.

School discipline

I want to let your readers know that this St. Paul School Board candidate stands with the letter writers who have expressed outrage over the failure of Superintendent Valeria Silva, as well as her central office administrators and school principals to discipline students in accord with existing zero-tolerance policies for a child bringing a loaded gun to Harding High School, as well as possession and use of a controlled substance.

The student, in my opinion, contrary to the principal’s conclusion, did have intent to use this weapon. The student, who has pleaded guilty, declared to the Ramsey County attorney he found the gun in the weeds on Payne Avenue and brought it to school to defend himself from a gangster group.

I support the penalty prescribed by Minnesota Statute 121A.44 that “a School Board must expel ‘for at least a one year’ a pupil who is determined to have brought a firearm to school.”

The meltdown in St. Paul school discipline did not start with the loaded pistol at Harding High, but it should end there. Superintendent Silva has failed to provide the safe school environment that is a minimum requirement for students to be academically successful, according to the district’s Rights and Responsibilities Handbook available at spps.org.

Parents, students, teachers, staff and volunteers all need new School Board leadership to hold Superintendent Silva professionally accountable under her employment contract for the ongoing violence and disruption to the learning environment created by the mixed messages sent by Silva to principals not to discipline misbehaving students. The achievement gap will only be perpetuated in this increasingly uncontrolled disruption of student learning that is being tolerated under Silva’s politically correct no-suspensions policy.

On Tuesday, St. Paul voters can bring an end to this dysfunctional chapter in school mismanagement and return to our 37,000 children their right to an excellent education, without violence in our public schools. I promise I will take action, rather than entertaining, as other candidates have suggested, yet more of Silva’s “courageous conversations,” which I believe have enabled the present escalating cycle of violence to become worse.

Greg Copeland, St. Paul

[One of two East Side SPPS Candidates, Keith Hardy the other.  Students on the East Side can’t be best represented without one of their own]



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