It has been said — and I firmly believe — that education is the greatest civil rights issue of our time. I also believe that education is our greatest opportunity to eradicate the inequities that exist in our communities. The right for every individual in our community to access a high quality public education is a reflection of our values, our foresight and our commitment to our economic future.
My vision is for all students who graduate from the Minneapolis Public Schools to be college and career ready. A child’s education must start the day he or she is born and must continue beyond the day that his or her graduation cap is tossed in the air. We must continue to invest in early childhood education, prepare students to read by third grade, maintain the academic momentum through the middle grades and push students to reach new heights as they prepare for college and career.
The Minneapolis Public Schools is closing the achievement gap for the first time in six years, but there is still much work to do. We must continue to work to ensure that all students succeed at high levels. My top priorities continue to be focused instruction, evaluating teachers, administrators and other staff members, building equity within our organization and raising standards and rigor for all students, especially those who struggle. Our students and families deserve no less than to have a strong school in every neighborhood, an effective principal leading their school building and a high quality teacher in every classroom.
The charge of educating our youth at high levels extends beyond our school buildings. We all can support the achievement of our students: families, faith communities, service organizations, businesses and policy makers. No matter who you are, you can make a difference and promote this civil right that matters most to our young people, our communities and our nation.
I encourage the families of our students to ensure that their voices are heard. Parents and guardians are key stakeholders in the education of our students. The Minneapolis Public Schools conducts an annual survey in an effort to measure progress and family perspectives. Creating positive experiences in our schools are critical as we work to best serve our students and their families.
Beginning Feb. 22, MPS began distributing the survey to parents and guardians at school conferences, school events and via postal mail. All responses will be anonymous and there is no identifying information on the survey. The surveys are in a sealed envelope that is individually addressed to the parent/guardian along with the student name and address. Please complete and return the survey by dropping it off at your child’s school or by mailing it in the pre-addressed, postage-paid envelope by April 30, 2012.
We want to hear from our families regarding their experiences in our schools. The feedback we receive helps us understand where our families feel that we perform well and where there is room for improvement. Every response is valuable and the results of this survey will be used to help drive ongoing improvement. We look forward to learning more from our families and thank you for your continued dedication to the education of our children and the Minneapolis Public Schools.
Bernadeia H. Johnson, Ed.D., is superintendent of Minneapolis Public Schools.