Minneapolis Public Schools

Board member Minneapolis Public Schools

I ran first in 1982 following the closure of Central High School and many other community schools.

I objected to the sterile architecture of the new South High School, Wilder School, Anderson School, Northeast Junior High School and similar buildings.  I felt that the lack of windows, motivated by the energy crises, the large labyrinth hallways, and the confusing layout was detrimental to the education of our students.  I was supportive of Richard Green the Superintendent and the benchmark testing program which was closing the achievement gap.

Although I did get the DFL endorsement, and the Start Tribune endorsement to run citywide I lost in 1982.  I ran again in 1984 and with the endorsement of the DFL and the MFT local 59 I won, and then again in 1988.  I have run three times citywide and won twice.  I chose not to run for a third term in 1992.

In my 8 years, I served on a leadership role for six, including stints as Clerk, Treasurer and Chair.

I disagreed with the so-called “Quality Education Coalition” a political organization dedicated to eliminating integration, benchmark testing and the Superintendent. They were elected and Dr. Richard Green left to become the Chancellor of the New York School System. The benchmark testing system was scrapped and desegregation was downplayed and the achievement gap began to get worse. This was a tragedy for our students.

Among my proudest accomplishments are:

  • instituting full healthcare and other benefits for all partners regardless of marital status and gender.  The first school district in the nation and the first government unit in Minnesota to do so.
  • Eliminating corporal punishment in the schools
  • Saving the gymnasium of Central High School by engineering a cooperative relationship with the City and the Park Board.  Eventually building the Richard Green Elementary School on that site.
  • Locating, and purchasing a building for the Anne Sullivan Elementary School.
  • Working on negotiations for the donation of the old Mt. Sinai hospital to the School System.
  • Starting an Indian Cultural magnet in the Mt. Sinai site, Four Winds.
  • Promoting a Native Principal to South High School
  • Changing the middle school Minnesota History curriculum to include a section on Indian Treaties.
  • Making sure Head Start got the old Catholic school that was being closed in South Minneapolis.
  • Working with the Youth Coordinating Board to do Youth Vote, Fresh Force, the Two Rivers Cultural Explosion.
  • Changing the school mascot name for Southwest High School from the Indians to the Lakers.
  • Bringing Health Clinics to all Minneapolis High Schools and some middle schools.
  • Passing balanced budgets that preserved teachers during the Quie administration of education cuts and transfers.
  • Passing the first excess levy refferendum in Minneapolis history, in fact the first in any city of the first class. The Mayor and the city council came on board, but we faced opposition from the Greater Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce.
  • Serving as the education chair on the Minneapolis Initiative against Racism.
  • Doing all of this while working full time at Direct Expressions and raising three children.

I decided not to run because I wanted to attend more of my children’s extra-curricular events and be more involved in their lives.  I felt I was missing important young years.

I supported William Green as my successor, and he went on to a stellar career as a Board Member, Chair, and then, in an unprecedented move, as Superintendent. He may never forgive me.

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