MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Two prominent Minnesota leaders have an idea to close the state’s persistent and numerous achievement gaps in education.
Alan Page, a former Minnesota Supreme Court justice, and Neel Kashkari, the president of the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank, say Minnesotans should vote to change the state’s constitution to ensure that every child has an equal right to a quality education.READ MORE: 'It's Amazing': New Minnesota Grant Helps Foster Care Youth Pay For College
In an announcement Wednesday, Page and Kashkari argued that the amendment would give legal power to families, who could then hold the state accountable if they believe their children aren’t getting an education that meets certain standards.
As it was originally written in 1857, the state constitution currently affords Minnesotans only with access to a “thorough and efficient” public school system. The proposed amendment would update the language to grant all Minnesota children a “fundamental right to a quality public education.”READ MORE: Wisconsin Man Dies After Car Splits During Crash In Fridley
While Minnesota schools perform well on average when compared to those of other states, there are massive disparities when viewed by students’ race and socioeconomic standing, as noted in a recent study by the Minneapolis Federal Reserve. In particular, students of color and those from low-income households see notably lower educational outcomes.
These disparities have existed for decades, despite allowing for school choice and ensuring equal funding for schools.
Page and Kashkari say a number of Minnesota lawmakers and prominent business leaders support the proposed amendment. Additionally, they note that Minnesota would be following in the footsteps of other states that have already modernized their constitutions’ education provisions.MORE NEWS: Homicide Investigation Underway After Woman Found Dead Inside St. Paul Home
In order to change the constitution, lawmakers would first need to pass an act proposing the change. After that, the question will be put to voters. A majority of voters in the election would need to vote “yes” for the amendment to be adopted.