Letter: About that ‘limited data’ — schools didn’t withhold their data

Cay Kimbrell

Last month the Minnesota Daily published a letter to the editor about MN Comeback’s new “Minneapolis School Finder” guidebook, which includes information for parents on 100 local K-8 schools and 37 high schools.

Contrary to the letter, no, 78 percent of schools did not withhold their academic performance information. While some schools have incomplete data in our parent resource, here’s the context.

New schools have limited or no data: Because three years of Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment proficiency and growth data determine ratings (and for high schools, ACT data), new schools don’t have enough data.

Some high schools have opt-out rates: If more than 40 percent of students opt-out of the MCA, the school’s average ACT score determines its rating, but there have to be enough students taking the ACT for it to be statistically relevant.

Independent schools can choose to administer a variety of tests, not only the MCAs, meaning many don’t have three years of MCA data. They also have the autonomy to decide how much information they want to disclose (if they shared it with us or make it available on their website, we included it).

What’s more, schools didn’t withhold demographic information, nor did we measure the ratio of teachers to students at all. Instead, we included the following demographic information: 1) The percentage of teachers of color at each school; 2) The percentage of students receiving free or reduced-price lunch; 3) The percentage of students who identify as Asian, black, Hispanic, Native American or white.

With the exception of independent schools, MDE makes this information available to the public, contrary to the published letter.

We believe Minneapolis School Finder is a great step toward closing the parent information gap.

Toward more diversity in our schools, we awarded $568,500 to support locally-led solutions, largely focusing on increasing the diversity of our teachers and school leaders through targeted recruitment and retention efforts.

We’re also the largest funder of the Minneapolis Residency Program, a Minneapolis Public Schools effort that’s increasing teacher diversity. However, even with these efforts we know undoing generations of structural inequities in K-12 education will take a sustained level of intentionality and collaborative work across school sectors and communities.

Cay Kimbrell

Director of Talent,
MN Comeback