p21FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   JUNE 20, 2016

Media Contact: Gabriela Linder 702.885.8708

The State of Education in Minnesota with Minnesota’s Commissioner of Education, Dr. Brenda Cassellius 

Minneapolis, MN (June 20, 2016) – Coming up next on Rock The Schools Episode 58, Minnesota’s Commissioner of Education, Dr. Brenda Cassellius, in a candid discussion of education in Minnesota with host Chris Stewart, goes deep into the indicators of what Minnesota is doing to close the achievement gap with students of color.  As the top education official in Minnesota, Dr. Cassellius brings an authentic conversation to Rock The Schools for our listeners of parents, students, educators and administrators to understand the principles of accountability that leads to achievement success for all students.  

Chris Stewart made the following statement about the importance of Dr. Cassellius’ voice on Rock The Schools, as the highest ranking education official in the State of Minnesota . . .
 
“Though Dr. Cassellius and I have differed often on education reform, I believe the most critical and civil conversations we have is on what Minnesota is doing  to close the achievement gap for students of color”
~Chris Stewart, host of Rock The Schools with Citizen Stewart
 
Since her appointment as Commissioner of Education in 2010, Dr. Brenda Cassellius has endeavored to enact comprehensive education reform that will benefit every child throughout Minnesota. Her straightforward, community-driven approach toward providing the best education possible has resulted in a remarkable list of accomplishments.

Under her leadership, the Minnesota Department of Education applied for and received a waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law, allowing for a better, fairer, more accurate and supportive accountability system. MDE was awarded a $45 million Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge grant to further develop and strengthen early education efforts. The department was also awarded a $28.2 Federal Public Charter Schools grant to design and implement high-quality charter schools.  A respected educator throughout her profession and across partisan lines, Commissioner Cassellius was critical in passing new alternative licensure; principal and teacher evaluation laws; as well as increased funding for PK-12 education; legislation ensuring a sharp, statewide focus on every child reading well by 3rd grade; and expanded access to quality early childhood education. Her reputation as an innovative problem solver can be seen within MDE where Dr. Cassellius has worked with employees to examine every aspect of department operations to ensure the state is providing the best service possible for Minnesota families, educators and students.
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Stewart’s mission with “Rock The Schools” is to “create a greater educational opportunity for black communities by grounding the school reform debate in black history and transformative black thought.”  Stewart believes “this is done by challenging the dominant trope of anti-school reform activism, and illustrating connections between the liberationist principles of yesterday’s black struggles, and today’s education proposals (e.g. “privatization,” school choice, and charter schools).”  Stewart’s tag “Public education for an educated public” begs the question of accountability . . . does public education meet the standards of an educated public when students are not achieving academic success?

Stewart is a writer, speaker, essayist and education activist from Minnesota.  Stewart began recording his Rock The Schools podcast in early March 2015 and releases a new episode weekly.  Rock The Schools with Citizen Stewart is available on iTunes, audioboom.com105thevibe.com and under podcast at citizenstewart.org.  Rock the Schools is supported by Education Post, Citizen.Ed and YouthPrise.