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Doug Mann LPN, LNC

North Star gate / North side community meeting

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North Star gate / North Side community meeting

[Responses to 2 posts to MPS Parents Forum list not yet approved for posting on the MPS Parents Forum list]

Subj: [MPS Parents' Forum] North Star gate
Date: 5/25/2006 8:56:41 AM Central Daylight Time

Steve Brandt asks:

"Are you sure that this isn't the Neighborhood Early Learning Center side of the building, which was built for and has been used for non-class room purposes?"

[Doug Mann] According to the report that I saw, the U of M is interested in the Neighborhood Early Learning Center, but needs a lot more space. The minimum space requirement for the child development research center is in the range of 30,000 to 33,000 square feet. The NELC has about 19,000 square feet, according to the report. The acquisition of North Star school by the U of M would be the most practical solution to the space problem, especially if the School Board is planning to vacate the building in a timely fashion.

For more information about the above-mentioned report, such as how it fell into the wrong hands, from the perspective of the U of M, see:

-Doug Mann, Minneapolis School Board candidate
From: William English <sonnyenglis@...>
Date:Thu May 25, 2006 10:25 am
Subject:Re: [MPS Parents' Forum] North Star site to be
used for mental health research center

I have tried to avoid addressing specific posts to this forum. However, the latest post by Doug Mann deserves being addressed with facts. My concern is that Mr. Mann's post implies that the district will close North Star for some mental health research facility operated by the University. As an individual who worked with North Star parents to save the school for the next school year I am appalled at Doug's assertions. First of all the district has agreed to keep North Star open for at least another school year. I do know there are ongoing negotiations with the district to expand North Star's boundaries and to add other programs to the facility to keep the school open as K-5 school, which is what the parents wanted. Those of you who know me know that I am not an apologist for the school board but in this instance I think it detrimental and irresponsible to put bad information out as facts. To accuse the district of attempting to place AA families under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court system is not only absurd it is insipid. As one who has fought the County over the past ten years on the issue of out of home placement for African American children, I am quite familiar with the issues on this subject. While it is true the University is attempting to establish a treatment center for families facing out of home placement of their children, this evidence based treatment program is part of a broader North Side initiative which includes a business incubator, early childhood development programs aimed at serving the community. For Doug to create a panic among North Star parents is somewhat disturbing because he usually is very factual although controversial. In this instance he was not factual and it is the goal of the parents of North Star school and their supporters including two of the endorsed candidates for the school board to assure North Star will remain a k-5 elementary school. I simply want to put factual face on Mr. Mann's post.

[Doug Mann] I have explicitly accused the Board of planning to shut down North Star Community School to accommodate plans to build a mental health research and treatment facility.

It is a fact that the Board of Education announced a decision to close North Star Community School, then made a commitment to keep it open for only one more year in the face of protests from the community. The district has been shrinking the program by shrinking the attendance area and restricting open enrollment.

Another fact: The district has put many students and their families under court supervision for truancy, behavior, and suspected neglect and abuse (teachers are mandated reporters). The district had to relax enforcement of its attendance policy a few years ago because it was swamping the Hennepin County juvenile court system with referrals.

At last night's community engagement meeting, I noted that in 2000 about 25% of African American students in the Minneapolis Public Schools were diagnosed as having emotional-behavioral disorders and were enrolled in special education programs. Students so diagnosed and treated are usually at least a couple of grade levels behind where they should be academically.

I also noted that low seniority teachers are heavily concentrated in schools where black students are over-represented, and that the turnover rate for low-seniority teachers is very high.

I went on to argue that setting up a child development research and treatment center is comparable to the Tuskegee experiment in that the U of M will be studying / treating the symptoms of social exclusion, that is, the denial of access to education, jobs, etc., but the U of M and its partners are not addressing that issue.

I am concerned that the U of M / Northpoint child development project is being funded in order to increase the court system's capacity to supervise African-American youth and their families. At the April 1 meeting sponsored by Parents Speak Out, Gary Cunningham stated that the Child Development project will roughly double North Point's ability to provide mental health treatment. At last nights meeting, one of the U of M spokespersons said that Hennepin County is backing the Child development treatment / research facilities with the expectation that U of M and North Point will deliver better services at a lower cost to Hennepin County.

Dante Cicchetti stated that about one and a half years ago he was approached by the U of M about heading up a child development research and treatment center in North Minneapolis, and that he was hired last October.

U of M spokespersons insist that the child development center is in a very early stage of development. The U of M was already beyond an "early stage" a year and a half ago when Dante Cicchetti was approached about it. I would say that timeline-wise, the U of M has already completed about three-fourths of the development phase of the project.

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