The highest racial disparity in graduations rates in the country: talking to candidates about change

Nov 8, 2017

Leaf (Rose) Munoz talks about the Pathways2Teaching program
Credit ©John Krumm. Used with permission.

Imagine having to to sit through classes with 95 different teachers before you find one that looks like you.

Imagine being a student of color and knowing that your chances of graduating high school were only 52 to 66 percent in Duluth -- but your guidance counselors each have 416 students to advise and help.

Imagine what you could do if Duluth had a universal scholarship program like one launched in Michigan ten years ago: one that would pay tuition to a state college for any student who graduates from the Duluth Public Schools. 

Eyreon Withersponn-Freeman asks school board candidates to reduce the ratio of students to guidance counselors from 416-1 to 250-1
Credit ©John Krumm. Used with permission.

The Local Solutions to Poverty Candidate forum is an unconventional candidate forum where members of the community living with poverty or homelessness share their stories with candidates for office – this time, city council and school board candidates. Then the candidates face very specific asks from the speakers to take specific action if they’re elected to office.

Here are Leaf Munoz, Eyreon Witherspoon-Freeman, and Lisha Moore, addressing Duluth School Board candidates:

Duluth School Board candidates at the Local Solutions to End Poverty Forum
Credit ©John Krumm. Used with permission.

The speakers followed up with asking school board candidates to implement the Pathways 2 Teaching program, to invest Pupil Support Services monies to meet the recommended 250 students per school counselor standard and to support creating a Duluth Promise scholarship program modeled after the one in Kalamazoo, Michigan.