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.