Families and Educators Tackle the Education Gap

Old and abandoned school classroom interior, in black and white.

Over the weekend, education advocates gathered for a forum titled ‘Are Public Schools in Minnesota Failing Black Children?’ 

Safiya Mohamed reports:.  


On Saturday the Wayfinder Foundation and the Racial Justice Network hosted a forum called ‘Are Public Schools in Minnesota Failing Black Children?’


“I’m sure a lot of adults do not know that Minnesota is placed 50 when it comes to the education quality for black students,” said spoken word artist and attendee Lavera Pounds. Pounds was referring to a national study that found Minnesota has one of the worst education gaps in the country between Black and white students. She said more people need to know about Minnesota’s achievement gap and how it harms Black students.


Rashad Turner, President of the Minnesota Parent Union, says it’s important to focus on Black children. 


“I think in Minnesota, it’s easy to sort of group people together or have that desire because of Minnesota Nice to, you know, label things BIPOC or POC,” he said.


Rashad believes that school districts have pushed Black parents away from the decision making table, causing the education gap to widen. 


Nafeesah Mohamed, an English teacher at Patrick Henry High School, gave the keynote address. She spoke to the importance of having Black educators in the classroom. 


“Black children are my passion, whether in the classroom or outside the classroom,” she said. “So anything that I can do to center the experiences of our Black children or Black parents or Black teachers, then I’m gonna show up and say and do it.” 


Mohamed said society has normalized negative experiences for Black children in school. 


“And what we’re trying to say here today is that that is not normal,” she said. “We are black excellence we have been since before we were brought to this country, so we’re capable of doing it again, we’re capable of being our own self liberators.”



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