No decision about us without us.
The Minneapolis Youth Congress, a leadership team of youth that influences policy decisions, partnered with Generation Next to problem solve, share opinions and propose solutions about education reform. Youth led a community conversation about the achievement gap, learning styles and discipline in the classroom. Their recommendations include developing an awareness campaign about the achievement gap, redressing curriculum for cultural competency and developing alternatives to out of school suspensions.
To spark discussion, the Minneapolis Youth Congress was asked a range of questions.
The students of the Minneapolis Youth Congress education committee are working with organizations like Generation Next, Minneapolis Public Schools, and Minnesota Minority Education Partnership to identify solutions and redesign policies. Their findings from a youth-led listening session about the achievement gap include:
- Gaps in access and opportunity result in missed learning opportunities for students.
- Collective problems need collective solutions.
- Differences in school success may depend on ethnicity and there is little support to address educational disparities between ethnic groups.
- There is a need for stronger student/teacher partnership and a two-way learning environment.
- Redress the curriculum for more hands-on activities, year-round schooling and increased availability of advanced placement classes.
- The punishment doesn’t fit the deed. Being out of class due to suspension creates some level of insecurity after the student returns to the classroom.
The Minneapolis Youth Congress enjoyed participating in this partnership; we are committed to continuing to offer our support, including further development of any of the below recommendations and acting in an advisory capacity to Generation Next.
- Develop an awareness campaign aimed at informing youth, parent, and adult stake holders about the achievement gap and its implications for our educational system.
- Create a transitional program for students, teachers, and support staff which re-introduces suspended students back into the classroom environment.
- Develop alternatives to out of school suspensions, which include options for in school suspension.
- Expand teacher development to include focused instruction on cultural competencies, and effective listening methods.
The Minneapolis Youth Congress (MYC) is a leadership team that influences policy decisions relevant to young people. Made up of 55 teens in 8th through 12th grade, the MYC collaborates with elected officials to positively impact the welfare of Twin Cities youth.
MYC committees meet to problem-solve around issues of housing, safety, education, employment, transportation and health. In full Congress meetings, MYC committees share opinions and propose solutions to the Minneapolis mayor, Minneapolis city council, Minneapolis school board members and Hennepin County elected officials.
Youth can get involved at youth.ycb.org or at 612-673-2708.