47% of MPS students graduate on time
Let's give them a better education

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About Us - Organizing for Action

We are college students who attended schools in Minnesota

We are a group of college students from all over Minneapolis to serve one purpose; making sure all kids get the education they deserve. Having experienced high school not too long ago, we were able to see how poorly the system is functioning. Students for Education Reform Action Network gave us the opportunity and resources to do something about it. We are in desperate need of change that will ensure all of our students graduate college and career ready. We want to make sure all classrooms have teachers who are passionate about teaching and our students future. With only 47% of all Minneapolis Public School Students graduating in 4 years, it is imperative that action is taken now. We want give the voice back to the students who have year after year been tossed aside and in order to do that, we need your help. Take action. Join our movement. It takes a community to make a difference.

Latasha Gandy

Metro State University

Arlington High School

Over four weeks, we're phone banking and canvassing to support candidates for MPS School Board

You should join us! Contact Latasha Gandy, Managing Director of SFER Action Network Minnesota, for details on how to get involved.

  Email Latasha

Candidates We've Endorsed

commited to improving education for MPS students

Iris Altamirano

Iris Altamirano

Iris knows the transformative power of education, having faced many of the same adverse circumstances experienced by so many of the students in our district today. The daughter of a school janitor, she went on to graduate from Cornell University and become a successful community and union organizer. Being a public school success and proven collaborator makes her a highly-qualified candidate for Minneapolis School Board Director At Large. Iris is committed to ensuring our children come to school ready to learn and gain the skills to navigate a world of diverse languages and cultures. By strengthening communication between all stakeholders, we can empower every child to succeed, no matter who they are or where they come from.

Don Samuels

Don Samuels

How well we educate the next generation in Minneapolis will determine the future success of our great city. As the founder of the PEACE Foundation, now the Northside Achievement Zone (NAZ), Don Samuels has shown an enduring commitment to making sure EVERY child has the chance to succeed. Don has built relationships with educators, parents, and students all around Minneapolis – one of his children attends school in Southwest, one in Northeast, and he is active in many neighborhoods – and he understands what makes schools thrive. Don seeks to lead a city-wide conversation about how to change the trajectory of education in our city, make tough decisions in the best interest of our kids, and publicly hold everyone accountable.

Why Did We Endorse Don and Iris?

Over the summer, we as a group decided that we would endorse Don Samuels and canvass and phone bank on his behalf. During our state summit, both Don Samuels and Iris Altamirano came to speak and share why they think they are best fit for the MPS school board. While their stories were different, they saw the flaws in the current schooling system and they wanted to change it. We met to decide if supporting Don alone was enough to ensure all kids in Minneapolis had a school board who would fight for their best interest, and subsequently we decided to support Don and Iris Altamirano. With two spots available for the at-large position on the school board, we saw the opportunity to put two like-minded candidates on the board and we took it.

Nyajuok Stephen

Nya Lony

Nya Lony is a senior at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, a member of Students for Education Reform, and a SFER Action Network organizing fellow in Minneapolis.

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SFER AN endorses Samuels and Altamirano in MPS school board election

By: Nya Lony

MinnPost recently highlighted the growing interest in the local Minneapolis school board race. And rightfully so—the stakes are high. With one of the worst racial and socioeconomic achievement gaps in the nation and recent MCA test scores evidencing little to no improvement among students of color in the district, it’s time to give education the attention it deserves.

Like many, I hadn’t always paid close attention to education issues. Before college, I was unfamiliar with terms like the “school-to-prison pipeline” and the “achievement gap,” but I understood the very real impact these factors had on students and families. After joining Students for Education Reform (SFER) on campus, I became increasingly aware that abysmal graduation rates and poor test scores were concentrated in underperforming schools, that students zoned to those schools would have to overcome significant obstacles to achieve success.

In MPS, just over one-third of Black and Latino students graduate, compared with 70% of their white counterparts. Black students constitute the largest single demographic in MPS and are among the worst performers academically, but only 2% of the budget was allocated to the Office of Black Male Achievement. Confronted with these unjust realities, I decided to join other SFER Action Network fellows to promote the school board race in the upcoming elections. Our group decided to endorse Don Samuels in the primary race after deliberating and evaluating candidate answers to questionnaires. His commitment to Minneapolis children, as a community leader and co-founder of the Hope Collective, drove our decision.

We are investing our time and energy in the race, understanding its importance in shaping outcomes for 34,400 students. We are phone banking and canvassing the entire city of Minneapolis, connecting with voters and hearing their stories. All across the city, from Southwest to the Northside, one thing we can all agree on was this: something has to change in MPS.

After the primary, we extended our support to Iris Altamirano, who like many of us, grew up as a low-income student and was one of the first students of color in her district to go to a top college. Like Samuels, she has a firm commitment to community empowerment—which she demonstrated through her labor organizing work. As fighters with a commitment to effecting change, I know Altamirano and Samuels are the two best candidates to usher in change to MPS and fight for quality schools, accountability, and great teachers and leaders.

As elections approach, we will be working with the Minneapolis Progressive Education Fund to ensure that all students have the opportunity to attend quality schools and pursue their dreams, and that the best candidates are elected. MPEF is a nonprofit organization made of diverse Minneapolis parents, MPS teachers, students, and graduates, and advocates for the school district—all who support progressive candidates who believe all students should have the opportunity to succeed.

Low-performing schools have failed their students for too long, but on November 4th, we don’t have to go down the same path. This year there is the opportunity to change the failing approach in MPS. So spread the word. Join our effort in calling and knocking on the doors of our neighbors. But most importantly, vote. Few students in MPS can cast a ballot this November for themselves, so as voters, we must vote to give them a different future than the statistics predict.

Who We Are

college students fighting for equitable education

Mike Blazanin

University of Minnesota, Class of 2017

Thomas Jefferson High School

Nya Lony

University of Minnesota, Class of 2015

Albert Lea High School

Ramon Page

University of Minnesota, Class of 2017

Humboldt Senior High School

Tianna Tucker

Saint Paul College, Class of 2018

Humboldt High School

Jazmyne McGill

Lipscomb University, Class of 2017

Armstrong High School

Tiara Carr

Saint Paul College, Class of 2018

Woodbury High School

Kenneth Eban

University of Minnesota, Class of 2015

Totino-Grace High School

Micah Thornquist

Gustavus Adolphus College, Class of 2015

Southwest High School

Khulia Pringle

Metro State University, Class of 2016

Central High School

Kira Braun

Saint Olaf College, Class of 2016

DeLaSalle Senior High School

Connor Read

Saint Olaf College, Class of 2017

Sturgis Charter Public School

Paola Santos-Negroni

Saint Paul College, Class of 2016

Central High School

Karla Rojas

Saint Paul College, Class of 2017

Hudson High School

Jamesia Jackson

McNally Smith College of Music, Class of 2017

Open World Learning Community

Statistic from the MPS Department of Research, Evaluation and Assessment

© 2014 SFER Action Network Fund Minnesota