As a former Education Data Analyst for South Washington County Schools, the third largest school district in Minnesota, I’ve worked closely with teachers and administrations to design reports to satisfy their needs, as well as creating innovative tools to assist staff. I served as the researcher for the Research, Evaluation, and Accountability (REA) department. From my experience working with lower income and wealthier schools, I learned that each school is different and face unique challenges. The greatest indicator for student success/improvement is creating positive school culture. This includes relationships between teachers, administrators, students, parents, AND the larger community.
It is important for residents to understand that education is the foundation of our community and interconnected with the city in multiple way including crime, economic growth, equity, and civic engagement. Since the school board and city council election occurs during the same time, it’s a great opportunity for 1) citizens to be informed about education system 2) candidates to inform about education and 3) candidate build relationships and partnerships with school boardmembers.
Why does public education matters to all residents, including non-parents?
- Taxes: Saint Paul residents pay a property tax to fund portion of the school system
- Crime: The youth commit the most crime in Saint Paul; Better schools equal less crime
- Childcare: Early childhood programs and after-school programs can reduce childcare for parents
- Economic Opportunity: Better education, better jobs
- Civic Knowledge/ Engagement: How does our local government work and why does it matter
- Equity: Quality Education for all
- Access for Education for Special Needs Children: With the expansion of charter schools, the SPPS takes care of these children and receive less money due to regular studies leaving.
- Budget/Cost: Different agencies have different programs, and outreach/ marketing costs can be cut down by reaching families more directly
I will withhold from writing a detailed breakdown of the incongruities of the local public education system, until I have more free time to flesh this out, and want to focus on citizens.