What Needs to Happen?

The New Normal
The United States is undergoing a “new normal.” A global economy, ever-increasing access to information, communications at the speed of light, and a major population transition are all part of changing our world forever. Nowhere is a purposeful reaction to this seismic shift more important than in our schools. Read more…

An Avenue to a Transformed Model
Since Parents United formed 10 years ago, we have watched public school funding and policy decisions made in the political arena be too often disconnected from research or vision. To deliver a public school system that provides an excellent education for each child, that closes the current unacceptable achievement gap and that produces a highly educated work force, Minnesota must have a comprehensive approach and sustained effort.

Parents United for Public Schools looks beyond politics to policy. We call for Minnesota’s leaders to move beyond political gamesmanship, to deliver wise and informed leadership, and to engage the public productively and authentically in the urgent need of providing the best public schools for our children. 

To that end, we believe Minnesota must:

  • Use data, research and meaningful evaluation to improve teaching and learning.
  • Implement research-based family engagement models that increase student achievement.
  • Promote policies and investments to assist communities in ensuring students come to school physically and mentally ready to learn.
  • Invest in early education.
  • Recruit, prepare, support and retain great teachers and principals.
  • Provide rigorous academics that prepare every student access to post-secondary opportunities.
  • Provide policies that increase post-secondary completion rates for our youth.
  • Design school systems that are student-centered, utilizing a variety of models, schedules and calendars.
  • Design schools where all cultures are included and connections are made across local and global cultural divides.
  • Fund schools sufficiently and predictably to produce world-class performance.

 Articles/Links:

“Nationwide, there’s no reason school districts — big or small; predominantly white, Latino or black — cannot construct a system that, like the schools of Union City, bends the arc of children’s lives.” The Secret to Fixing Bad Schools, New York times, February 9, 2013

What if the stories we told about schools were less about lagging dysfunction and more about healthy design? A Different Story About Public Education, Education Week, January 31, 2013; and A Year at Mission Hill, a series of short videos tackling the question, What are the core design principles of a healthy learning environment?

“Public schools must be accountable to citizens, but citizens must also be accountable to public schools.” Why We Still Need Public Schools: Public Education for the Common Good, a report from the Center for Education Policy (January 2007)

What Can Minnesota Learn from Finland’s Education System? MPR interview with Pasi Sahlberg, author of Finnish Lessons, October 23, 2012

Engaged communities put policy into action, Star Tribune Commentary: Tom Horner and Tim Penny, March 24, 2012

Minnesota prepares for challenges as minorities become classroom majority, Pioneer Press, May 17, 2012