In Minnesota and throughout the country, students of color and American Indian students with or without disabilities continue to be placed on failing school trajectories through their overrepresentation in special education identification, placement into restrictive educational settings, and schools’ exclusionary disciplinary practices.
But we know the onus can’t be on teachers alone to end racist practices in schools across Minnesota. We must advance policies that mandate standards for special ed placement and discipline practices so all students, especially students of color and American Indian students, have the opportunity to succeed.
Policy Change 1
States like Minnesota with deep racial disparities and unfair placements should he required to use 15 percent of their federal education dollars to study and develop interventions and systems reform efforts to address and reduce disproportionate representation in special education and school discipline.Learn More
Policy Change 2
More robust coordination efforts across systems and community resources would provide schools better access to preventative care and intervention supports and allow schools to deliver essential services of school nurses, psychologists, social workers, and other care providers and behavioral supports for all students.Learn More
Policy Change 3
We recommend that a Critical Race Theory framework be applied to the current PELSB training to emphasize how power and privilege can conspire to produce racial inequities. This implicit bias training should include a critical race theory component that challenges culturally sustaining pedagogies centered White, middle-class, monolingual, and monocultural norms of educational achievement.Learn More
Policy Change 4
The current PBIS system (Positive Behavioral and Interventions and Supports ) does not reflect and address the culturally and linguistically diverse student population. The current PBIS structure should be modified using a Critical Race Theory Framework, which acknowledges racism as endemic, challenges dominant ideology, and recognizes experiential knowledge of people of color and American Indians.Learn More
Policy Change 5
Collaboration between the Minnesota Department of Education and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights is critical for identifying disparities and establishing a provision of guidance to combat systemically racist practices in Minnesota schools. This collaboration would also foster greater transparency to bolster public trust and awareness.Learn More
Policy Change 6
The current identification process for Emotional and Behavioral Disorders is subjective, and leads to misidentification of students and places them in restrictive settings that don’t serve their needs. The entire evaluation process for EBD placement needs assiduous review to develop a single standard and ensure greater consistency, objectivity, and transparency.Learn More