E4E-Minnesota and EdAllies are in the midst of a multi-year campaign to change the way Minnesota schools dish out discipline to students, particularly students of color and students with disabilities. Both organizations are part of the push for a committee hearing on the Student Inclusion and Engagement Act (SIEA).
The SIEA is the Minnesota education reform community’s effort to address stark discipline disparities in Minnesota schools through legislative change. According to E4E-Minnesota, too often, schools are quick to remove students—particularly black students, Native American students, and students with disabilities—from school, usually for non-violent behavior. The organization is committed to addressing this issue on all fronts; in 2016, they released an Educator’s Guide to School-Based Change: Ending Racial Discipline Disparities. And at E4E-Minnesota’s Annual Summit in February, educators wrote letters and recorded videos asking legislators to support the bill. Now both EdAllies and E4E-Minnesota are pushing for a hearing on the bill.
Among other things, the act promotes positive alternatives to exclusionary discipline problems such as restorative justice, trauma-informed teaching, and positive behavior interventions and supports.
Why It Matters.
Discipline disparities are not unique to Minnesota. E4E-Minnesota and EdAllies have been working in coalition to address this issue for years and their work could be an excellent starting point for advocates from other states who seek to address this issue in their state.