What did Minneapolis school board
members know about a plan to use the campus of the North Star Community School as a site for child development research? And
since when did they know about it?
Within the past few years, the Minneapolis Board of Education decided to shut down
North Star Community School, then delayed the school's closure for one year in the face of community opposition. The board
has been shrinking enrollment in the popular North Star program by shrinking the school's attendance area and turning away
students who attempted to exercise their open enrollment option. In recent years North Star has been one of the North Side's
strongest elementary education programs. Can you imagine the board doing the same thing to Burroughs elementary school in
Early last fall the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners received a written report, titled "U of
M and North Minneapolis public engagement for the 21st century." That report disclosed the existance of a detailed plan to
use the North Star campus as a child development research facility. (I have seen the report and plan to publish excerpts from
it later this week)
Apparently, the U of M's idea of public engagement is to keep the intended targets of its experimentation
out of the information loop. The public engagement report has not been accessible to the public via the Internet or through
Hennepin County. Carol White had surmised that the County Board received a written report as well as a verbal presentation
from Northpoint before voting to fund the project. In February 2006 Carol asked for and received a copy of the report from
Northpoint CEO, Gary Cunningham.
**Carol A. White is an officer of the Minnesota Alliance of Black School Educators
and a leading member of African Americans Concerned Together (AACT) and Parents Speak-Out.
AACT, Parents Speak Out,
and others began to demand full public disclosure of plans for the U of M's child development research projects on the North
Side(which includes new construction at Plymouth and Penn as well as acquisition of the North Star campus) , and on 1 April
2006 held the first public meeting about the research project. Only then, after the cat was out of the bag, did the U of M
and Northpoint schedule some community meetings about the research project.
The last in a series of public meetings
sponsored by Northpoint and the U of M about the research project is scheduled for this Thursday, 25 May 2006 at Shiloh church
(Fremont and Broadway) at 6:30PM (same location as Evelyn Eubanks' memorial service in Sept. 2005). To verify time and place
(if you plan to attend), call Northway Community Trust at 612-521-4500; Northside Residents Redevelopment Council at 612-335-5924;
Gary Cunningham, North Point Heath and Wellness, at 612-302-4600; or Robert Jones, University of Minnesota, at 612-624-3533.
more information about AACT and Parents Speak-Out, contact Carol Ann White or Lorraine Smaller at 612-521-5114