Which Students do Experienced Teachers Choose to Teach in Minneapolis Public Schools?

Please don’t read this if teaching CRT has been banned in your jurisdiction.

One of my hobbies is reporting racist trolls that harass Rep. Ilhan Omar and other female politicians of color. Through this, I’ve read more replies to Rep Omar’s tweets than most people and have picked up a few themes.

One of those themes is that Rep Omar is, somehow, unAmerican if she criticizes anything about America. However, a more mature view would be to understand that people can criticize something out of love. They can love it not just for what it is but for what it can be.

In that spirit, let’s talk about the Minneapolis Public Schools.

As I understand teacher compensation, teachers are paid based on a combination of educational attainment and years of experience. Here’s the salary chart from the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers’ website.

In a nutshell, teachers with more experience and/or more advanced degrees (and/or credits) earn more.

Racial Disparities

Minneapolis and Minnesota public schools are known for two things: great schools (for white kids) and large racial disparities. To create great schools for ALL kids we need to close the gap.

Granted, the educational challenges faced by public schools go far beyond what schools should be asked to address. There are major disparities in income, housing stability, mental health issues, lead poisoning, air & noise pollution, etc. that all contribute to disparities.

But, what can we control? Whether we’re ethically deploying our resources.

That brings me to this:

That is a chart comparing how much the average teacher in each elementary school in Minneapolis makes plotted against how many white kids attend each school. Here’s that data by quartile.

We’re paying teachers more (due to their experience and education) to teach our school district’s white students.

My kids attend a school with the 5th highest teacher salaries in the district. The teachers are awesome. They are paid, on average, $18,670 more per teacher per year at the 5th lowest paid school in the district.

We hear that it’s unfair that schools in SW Minneapolis have so many additional resources due to the wealth in that part of town allowing for large PTO budgets. But, it’s not the PTO that’s paying the highest-paid teachers in the city to teach in that quadrant.

This is our system working as designed.

How does that compare to schools that have few of the resources outside the classroom that are found in SW Minneapolis?

This is our system working as designed.

Yes, the district needs more money. Unfunded or underfunded mandates are wreaking havoc on public school budgets across the state. But, we also need to take a serious look at how and where we’re deploying our most highly educated, experienced, and paid teachers.

The system is working as designed when highly paid teachers gravitate towards schools with more resources from outside their classrooms.

Here’s the full list to (hopefully) fuel your outrage:

Mistaken Pandemic Assumptions

I’ve been thinking about what were my biggest assumptions about the pandemic that I’ve been wrong about so far. Here’s my current list:

1. Automated contact tracing apps would be widely used and effective.
2. Schools would invest in serious HVAC retrofits during the year without kids in the buildings.
3. Most restaurants would quickly disappear without in-restaurant dining.
4. Biden would do more than Trump to help people afford to protect themselves.
5. The most common sources of viral spread would be identified, communicated, and well-understood by the majority of Americans.

Things that I didn’t anticipate. 

1. Conspiracy theorists assuming that sterilized cotton swabs are dangerous because they’re sterilized.
2. Restaurants being a source of high covid deaths even without customers due to the proximity of line cooks.
3. Republicans having relatively low vaccination rates while simultaneously giving Trump credit for helping get the vaccines to market.
4. Policies that determine that dining in a restaurant is safe if you wear a mask while entering and leaving but not while sitting.
5. YouTube and Twitter taking at least some action to prevent the spread of health misinformation.6. Chiropractors. 

13th, 12th, 11th, & 10th Avenues South of Powderhorn Park

13th Ave S at 35th St E

Back on Jan 2nd, Carly and I clipped off a few streets to the south fo Powderhorn Park, starting from 13th Ave S at 35th St E.

Powderhorn Park from 35th St E & 13th Ave S

Powderhorn Park’s lake was iced over, but not by much.

Dairy Queen at 38th St E & 13th Ave S

The Dairy Queen at 38th St E was closed for the season. I could have gone for a small Blizzard.

Bancroft Elementary School

Bancroft Elementary School is across 38th St from Dairy Queen. They are aiming to be a fully-authorized International Baccalaureate school by this spring.

Icy Roads

Roads were particularly icy at that time. Hard packed stuff. Tough to run on, but we still saw a couple bikers.

St. Mary's Cemetery

Our turnaround point was St. Mary’s Cemetery at 44th St.


Risen Christ School, at 12th Ave S & 37th St E, was formerly Holy Name school, but became home to a consolidation of five parishes in 1993.

Church of the Holy Name

Back at Powderhorn Park, we turned back south on 11th Ave, and passed Church of the Holy Name on the other side of the block from Risen Christ School.

Fountain of Life Church

Fountain of Life Gospel Church, on 10th Ave S at 40th, seems to like acronyms a lot, based on what I see on their website.

Believers Fellowship Christian Church

Believers Fellowship Christian Church on 10th Ave S at 39th St, has a church motto: “Bring them in – Build them up – Train them and Send them out.” Sounds good.

Powderhorn Park from 35th St E & 11th Ave S

And back to Powderhorn Park.

Powderhorn Park to St. Mary's Cemetery Running Route

Kiva Update: Awesome Milestone

A new milestone for Team Deets on Kiva has been reached: we just hit $2,000 in loans!

See below for a breakdown of the stats:

Kiva Team Deets Performance

It’s awesome to see that 26 of you have signed up and lent money to an entrepreneur somewhere in the world so far.

One thing I’ve learned is that it pays to ask you to do cool stuff from time to time. And providing a little incentive doesn’t hurt. Check out the stats below to see what I’m talking about:

Kiva Impact

I just did my 20th loan (to a baker in Tajikistan), which is Wobegonly above average, but it’s nothing compared to what you have done for Team Deets.

I’d like to send a special thanks to two Team Deets members, Kirk and Pat. Both have been big supporters of Team Deets both through the loans they’ve made and their emails to me to blog about this more often.

In fact, I’d like to share an email from Pat without his permission (I think he’ll be cool with it) about how Team Deets can ramp things up:

Just made a couple more Kiva loans last night.

It looks like the Team Deets is averaging about 3 loans per member. Not bad for 7 and a half months…but I am wondering if another post might help add a couple more folks to the roster or spur a couple more loans?

Maybe another Team Deets incentive? For every loan made between now and ???, people are entered to win a Kiva shirt, jacket, bag, etc. or a gift certificate? Every new member gets a shirt or gift certificate (how’d that go last time?)

I’m willing to kick in $100 for incentives.

Love Kiva and it appears that a bunch of Deets readers do too – maybe we can leverage all that love for some more!

Up for it?

Yes, I’m up for it! And, I’ll match Pat on his $100 in matching funds. Let’s do it like this:

If you think Pat’s the man for coming up with this idea, click this link, join Kiva, lend $25, then send me an email so I can tell Pat to chip $25 toward your 2nd loan or Kiva schwag. Or, if you having something against Pat, still want to join Team Deets, and would like to have your first loan matched by me, click here. Either way, be sure to swing by this link to join Team Deets so we can see how far and wide our collecting lending goes.

Also, if you’re up for joining Pat and I as providers of matching funds, drop a comment or send me an email. As you can see from the stats above, it may go even further when it’s an incentive for others to get involved.

Chisholm Inn & Suites TP

Chisholm Inn & Suites TP, originally uploaded by edkohler.

Hotels have to pick their battles. In this case, it looks like they are
leaning toward providing bike racks and rentals to tourists interested in
riding the Mesabi Trail past open pit mines over their TP presentation.