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Mankato School Board approves new Equity Vision and Framework 5-1

Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 8:18 PM CDT
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — In a 5-1 vote Monday night, the Mankato School Board approved a new equity framework, which includes a new mission, vision statements and a checklist to be implemented district-wide.

“I’m excited that MAPS, our school board last night, I think, took a bold move. They revamped the mission and vision of the school district. That’s not easy work,” Superintendent Paul Peterson said.

Mankato Area Public Schools’ equity plan outlines updated values and commitments to students: actively working to be intentionally inclusive and visibly equitable.

Mankato Area Public Schools (MAPS) is committed to working together equitably, with families and communities so that each learner has the knowledge and skills to be successful and contributing citizens in a diverse global society.

Mankato Area Public Schools' updated mission statement

The district says it will reach its mission and vision when each student is ready for kindergarten and reading well by third grade, all achievement gaps are closed, all students are college and career ready by graduation, all students graduate, and every member of the district feels safe, welcome and treated with respect.

The school board heard from several community members on Monday ahead of the vote, both for and against the Equity Plan.

“America never supported the notion that everyone is entitled to the same outcomes. CRT [critical race theory] is toxic.”

“This program is meant to create division, not create a team or any kind of uniform aspect of education.”

“Yes, we are all created equal, but that has not been a reality. And that’s why we need to teach the honest truth, so it doesn’t happen again.”

“There are laws and policies and institutional practices that have kept certain groups out of the same opportunities that all of us would wish to have.”

MAPS’ vision is that every learner will be seen for who they are inclusive of: race, national origin, home language, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age, or religion. MAPS learners will experience a school environment that builds their voice and agency. Learners and families will be seen and heard. MAPS will assure that each learner has the skills to enter society with a joy for learning, a positive vision for the future and the ability to navigate the world with hope, dignity and their multiple talents.

Mankato Area Public Schools' updated vision statement

Peterson says interest in the topic of equity in schools is seen in districts across the country having the same conversations.

“School boards are kind of becoming the center point of some of the cultural wars within our society,” Peterson said. “School districts have always kind of been political entities to some point, but there are definitely groups within society that are trying to politicize what really should be kind of the human value work.”

In September, MAPS will host a summit at the Mayo Clinic Health System Event Center for students, parents and all members of the community to learn more about how the equity plan will impact students and learning.

He says the changes aim to improve the lives of all students, from achievement to satisfaction with their school experience and hopes others agree.

“We believe in all kids. We love every kid and family that comes through our doors. Now we need to make sure that the work that we’re doing matches what’s coming out of our mouths.”

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