For our last engagement update of the 2022-2023 school year, we want to take a moment to talk about why it is so important that organizations like ours do the work of talking about the issues facing Minneapolis Public Schools and the specific ways in which those issues impact historically-marginalized people within the MPS community.
One of the big discussions we frequently have at Minneapolis Schools Voices is what it means to not only publish under-discussed reporting, but how we do it with an eye and an ear to the needs of historically-marginalized communities.
MPS serves a large population of students from under-served backgrounds: refugee and new American populations, unhoused students and those suffering from housing instability, English learners, special education students, adult learners, and more. As an organization we’ve tried to understand both the big-picture gaps in the reporting about and for these communities, and the stories arising from these communities. We’ve been trying to bring context and bridge the divide between people stories and money stories and policy stories so that we can understand MPS in a deeper way and then communicate that understanding more deeply.
For example, the MPS budget is a huge number made up of lots and lots and lots of big and confusing numbers, and the challenges MPS faces due to the impending financial crisis cannot be undersold. But what does it mean to not just talk about the numbers? How can we talk about the MPS budget and budget deficit in regards to the impacts on people? How do we talk about the role of a department or a person within the MPS machine to understand who is part of the community, what they’re experiencing, and why they need support?
Our work is about more than humanizing education reporting, because that’s within the toolbox of any good reporter. We want to also bring meaningful context to the stories we report on and we want to understand the top-down, bottom-up impacts of the issues and experiences we cover.
We think it is absolutely crucial that we not just report on the decisions being made by or around MPS, but that we also take the time and use the resources necessary to understand the impact of the big-picture issues and challenges we also need to talk about.
On a personal note, this is my last day as Community Connector with Minneapolis Schools Voices. Thanks to everyone I got to connect with in this work and I hope we meet again in the future. I will not be checking my MSV email moving forward so please contact email@example.com with any story ideas, connection requests, or more.