Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.


Mayoral candidate Hodges outlines plan for Minneapolis education round-tables

Grade school students would be the focus of round-table discussions designed to improve early childhood education in Minneapolis if mayoral candidate Betsy Hodges is elected.

“Where we are most stuck is the willingness to challenge our own ideas,” Hodges said at a Thursday news conference outlining her education plan. “We need to move from adult-centered debates to come together to have constructive child-centered conversations.”

The overall graduation rate for all students in Minneapolis Public Schools is 50 percent but moves lower for some ethnic and racial minority students.

The Minneapolis graduation rate is 37 percent for African-American and Latino students and 25 percent for American Indian students.. The graduation rate for white students is 70 percent, which is 13 percentage points lower than the statewide average.

Her education plan follows Hodges’ Cradle-to-K program she announced a few weeks ago aimed at pre-school students.

Hodges said she would work with school district officials and educators to get help to students who are struggling in school and use the mayor’s office to assist in discussions that would include School Board members and the school superintendent.

“I do not govern the schools.  I am not asking to govern the schools,” said Hodges. “As mayor, I will have a platform in the region like no other to help bring people to the table.”

Hodges has stressed the need to close gaps in education, income, housing and job opportunities in Minneapolis and said the education round-tables are part of that plan.

Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 09/06/2013 - 04:01 pm.

    It’s amazing, how the mayoral race has been highjacked by the schools issue, to the detriment of any real discussion of what Minneapolis’s mayor does or can do. Here, Betsy Hodges seems to imply that the school board and MPS administration are dysfunctional or simply have no clue about what to do. So, as mayor she’ll run a show on the side, to help them figure it out. BUT, she refuses to advocate a Charter change that would give our schools to the mayor to run.

    If she has ideas for schools, why doesn’t she let us know what they are, before the election, rather that telling us what committees she’ll set up and what forums she’ll hold after she’s elected mayor?

  2. Submitted by cheryl luger on 09/07/2013 - 12:12 pm.

    Mayoral candidate Hodges outlines plan for Minneapolis education

    ms hodges’ plan is either a very ‘safe’ plan or a very lazy plan.

    there are a number of things the mayor can influence indirectly with the school board … but in 12 years we have not seen any major budget initiatives (other than step up which is a public/private initiative and addresses a ‘comparatively’ small number of students system wide). .

    mr. samuels has placed more thought in his educational ideas and platform …. but like many ed. problems, they are long-term initiatives..

    ms. hodges states that she does not have any intent in taking over the school board ..
    however, excuse my skepticism, there are both direct and indirect ways of doing this…and these have been a hot topic nationwide since the 1990’s.
    with the recent Chicago events it has become an even more considered alternative.

    mayor rt made a lot of promises and expressed support for nrp, the libraries and parks but backed out of his commitments..

    altho a city take over of the school board came up a few years back with the school board probono mckinsey & co. consulting study (what was presented to the mayor and council was different from what the school board heard),
    mayor rt last year expressed willingness to talk about a mayor/school board hybrid.

    other than the stadium, ms. hodges has supported every mayoral initiative and request and strongly advocated for them in ways and means (many on 7 to 6 votes) and at the state legislature..

    ms. hodges has built her reputation on eliminating, dismembering, and weakening any elected, elected-hybrid or autonomous competing power structure. ….
    library board, nrp, board of estimate and taxation (after losing the amendment vote 4 years ago, ms. hodges immediately put forth the ordinance change that eliminated the bet’s independent audit function and replacing it with an audit dept the city can’t or won’t fund as promised).

    then add in her numerous assaults on the park board.
    most recently ms hodges, when asked by a reporter about her plans, stated that ‘streamlining’ (taking over) the park board police was on the table.
    for many reasons (given by both park and council) this has not been seen as a good idea.

    so, based on ms. hodges’. past behavior of consolidating power in the council/mayor’s structure,, why would I believe ms. hodges has had an epiphany and will change her political philosophy ?
    or change her political strategy….a strategy that has gone past any bully pulpit aimed at eliminating any balance of powers or checks and balances ?.

    best for a great weekend !

    p.s. I won’t be able to attend the debates, but I would hope some one would ask the hard questions about the mayor’s role in education, the mayor’s R E A L charter intent and strategy at the state legislature.
    does consistent past behavior reflect future actions ?

  3. Submitted by Steve Titterud on 09/08/2013 - 07:05 am.

    Why listen to any mayoral candidate who carries on and on…

    …about something she really can do nothing about ?

    Unless the laws have changed, as far as I know, she has no powers related to the Minneapolis school system. None. Someone please correct me here if I’m wrong.

    So claiming that as mayor you’re going to intervene and change public education in Minneapolis is about as credible as saying you’re going to intervene to change the orbit of Mars.

    Yes, the mayor can be a cheerleader. I’ve heard her “bringing people to the table”, education “round tables” and all that fine-sounding rhetoric, but in the end it means little, if anything at all – EVEN IF she had any specific education policy, and EVEN IF the swamp of public education in Minneapolis were not a problem brewing for decades.

    The poor quality results of the education system in Minneapolis is not merely lacking some kind of “the people need to feel they’re involved” program. You know – give them some meetings where they can sound off, a forum or two. Makes ’em feel better. This has been tried aplenty and never improved a thing, so far as I can tell.

  4. Submitted by Christopher Clark on 09/09/2013 - 04:56 pm.

    try harder

    Its funny how these career politicians make promises especially as they’ve been part of the problem all along. Ms Hodges could have initiated this during her 8 years as a council member. They’ll try anything especially as 34 other vie for Minneapolis Mayor including myself.
    I am one of two libertarians. I ran in last election coming in fifth out of eleventh place. Tired of all the spending by the council and mayor. Big waste of money includes the photocop disaster which the MN supreme court ruled unconstitutional, the wi-fi disaster and millions more wasted, the streetcar proposal which is bad, the $400 a month car allowance for each council member few years back.
    They keep spending that is why the city’s population and skyline gets larger to make up for the money spent. If they were more fiscally responsible, they wouldn’t have to tax residents out of the city. There’s too much greed. Last time there was real debate took place with Barrett Lane during his 8 years. Otherwise, its a free for all orgy of delight! Anything goes.
    If elected mayor, I’d reduce all council and mayor salaries by 15%, attempt to reduce number of council members from 13 to 11. Starts with little things. Give back to taxpayers rather than the career politicians who linger. I’d push through term limits. Three terms only for council members and the mayor. Tired of being taxed to death!!! I lost my house two years ago.
    The resources weren’t available as the city wants you to think, even the secretary of state’s office useless. Basically, on your own dealing with an epidemic. I clearly don’t see better jobs coming anytime soon. Unless, big companies here don’t award out so many work visas. Instead, train your own citizens first. Many of these visa holders don’t pay taxes yet use our services freely. Must be nice for them while our taxes go up.

Leave a Reply