Mpls Public Schools trolled by new anti-MPS billboard right outside its HQ [PHOTO]
Can you imagine going to work everyday under a huge billboard telling you how crummy you are at your job?
In January, we told you about a Better Ed billboard that was trolling Minneapolis Public Schools right outside its headquarters at 1250 West Broadway Avenue. It said: "Only 50% of Minneapolis students graduate. #System_Failure"
A new billboard slightly tweaks the message, but serves the same purpose. You can see it at the top of this page.
In fact, Minneapolis's four-year graduation rate is roughly comparable to other large American cities. But Devin Foley, president of Better Ed, says that's not good enough, especially when compared to St. Paul's 73 percent rate.
"The bigger story is, should any Minnesota citizens or resident of Minneapolis be satisfied with barely half the kids graduating and spending $21,000 per student?" Foley tells us. "We need to get this stat out there more and that's what we're doing. Not enough people in Minneapolis or in Minnesota are aware of how few kids are graduating in Minneapolis."
Better Ed, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, describes its mission as "to engage the public by challenging assumptions and opening minds to fresh ideas for transforming education in Minnesota."
"For decades, many have assumed that Minnesota has a strong education system and that any problems that may exist can be fixed with more spending, a position that continues to be relentlessly advanced by some of the state's most powerful interest groups," the group writes on its website. "However, there is an urgent need to alert Minnesotans to the truth of the high costs and poor outcomes of education in various parts of the state, particularly Minneapolis."
Keith Hovis, deputy communications director for the Minnesota Department of Education, tells us that "as a state, we've been working really hard to close the achievement gap," but adds, "From a state perspective, to try and compare and contrast different cities... every city has its own communities and its own challenges."
"It's a big city, and big cities face a lot of issues," Hovis says. "We have a goal of closing all achievement gaps by 50 percent by 2016 and we're working toward that, but it's a process and it's not fair to say one city is better than the other. That's not where we go from a state perspective."
St. Paul spends $15,216 per pupil, state officials tell us, but Hovis cautions against using that stat to make an oversimplified comparison with Minneapolis.
(For more, click to page two.)
In a statement, Daniel Lattier, Better Ed's director of academics, says, "The billboard is not meant to shame the district administrators. But it is meant as a very real reminder that too many Minneapolis students did not don a cap and gown last month, and that action needs to be taken." (Asked about what "actions" Better Ed endorses, Foley didn't delve into specifics.)
With regard to how long this latest billboard will stand outside the MPS headquarters, Foley says, "It'll be erected for quite a while." He didn't immediately have information about how much Better Ed was spending on it.
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