800 Sign Petition to End Racial Literacy Gap in St. Paul Schools

April 26, 2018 08:59 PM

College students and community members are petitioning the St. Paul School Board, hoping to close the racial literacy gap they say exists in the city's public schools.

Nearly 800 students have signed a petition to deliver to St. Paul school board members and the superintendent.

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The nonprofit Students For Education Reform Minnesota (SFER MN) said timing is important as the district discusses its next strategic plan.

"We want to make sure that all students have access to quality literacy skills and we’re not seeing that right now in St. Paul public schools," Kenneth Eban, with SFER, said.

RELATED: Minnesota Graduation Rates Show Gap for Minority Students Narrowing 

Eban said last year 72 percent of white students in St. Paul public schools were reading at or above grade level.

He said that number plummets to less than 30 percent for minority students.

Eban says that needs to change and literacy needs to be a focus for the district and all of its students.

"There’s some fear that if we say were going to focus on students of color people may perceive that as all we don’t care about what white students or white families are going through, and that’s not true either, what we’re saying is that students of color and their literacy matters, and we need to create a sense of urgency in this district because they have been failed for far too long," Eban said. 

SFER said now is the time to offer input that can positively change things for students in the future as the district is discussing a new five year strategic plan. 

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Jessica Miles

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