ISAIAH leaders from several of our Minneapolis congregations joined together to interview and survey Minneapolis School Board candidates to assist our members in making informed voting decisions.  These soon-to-be elected officials set policy and oversee the district’s budget, curriculum, personnel, and facilities. Their authority has far-reaching impact on whether each of God’s children receive an equitable education.

Below is a list of the candidates.  If their names have a link, they have completed the survey.  When you click on a link, a PDF with the candidate’s response will open. We encourage you to read their responses so that you are able to make an informed voting choice.

District 1: Jenny Arneson
District 3: Siad Ali
District 5: Nelson Inz
District 5: Jay Larson
At Large: Iris Altamirano
At Large: Rebecca Gagnon
At Large: Ira Jourdain
At large: Don Samuels

The Survey Questions:

1.  Suspensions:  What do you feel is the role of the School Board in reducing suspension rates? How can the district support teachers with alternatives to suspension?

2.  Equity:  A racial achievement gap has persisted for years in MN schools, despite many initiatives, resulting in poor standardized test results and abysmal graduation rates for students of color. What do you think the school board should do to address the achievement gap? In your role as a policy maker, how would you keep issues of equity as a top priority?

3.  Accountability:  In Minneapolis schools, many initiatives to reduce racial disparities have been rolled out, but clearly have not seen successful implementation. What do you think are the solutions (i.e. funding, personnel) to effectively address racial disparities? How would you hold teachers, principals and administrators accountable for meeting district equity goals?

4.  Training:  For white teachers to effectively connect with students of color, it is important that they understand and acknowledge institutional and internal racism. How should the district ensure that teachers they hire are acknowledging and understanding institutional and internal racism? Why is it important that the demographics of teachers, principals and administrators more closely reflect the demographics of the students they serve?

5.  Community Engagement:  For a school to be effective, it must build successful partnerships with parents and with the greater community. What do you think the role of the school board is in ensuring community voices are included in decision making? What other partners do you think should be included to ensure we can effectively serve the children?

6.  Personal Development:  What does the school board need to do to better understand equity? What are you willing to do personally to better understand how to address equity?

* Candidates for the Minneapolis School Board were identified using the Minneapolis Public Schools Boardwebsite.