Minnesota prides itself on education. But whether we look at the data or listen to lived experience, it’s clear that too many Minnesota schools are failing students of color and indigenous students. So it should come as no surprise that families are demanding change—and seeking out schools where they feel safe, valued, and academically successful.

Despite the need for more and better options for students of color, there is a growing movement to deny parent choice as part of a broader, persistent attack on charter schools. But what about the families, and particularly, families of color, who are making these choices? To find real solutions, we need to check our assumptions, ask earnest questions—and to let people of color answer.

This campaign brings policy and people together: braiding ideas of integration, academic excellence, and parent choice—rather than pitting them against each other—to ensure the choices of families of color are respected and protected.

Who We Are

Real Voice. Real Choice. is a project of EdAllies, a Minnesota-based nonprofit that partners with schools, families, and communities to ensure that every young Minnesotan has access to a rigorous and engaging education. We advance policies that put underserved students first, remove barriers facing successful schools and programs, and foster an inclusive conversation about what’s possible for students.

We believe that all parents want what’s best for their kids and should have the power to choose the right school for their children from a range of high-quality options. This power is especially important for families whose children are most underserved in our schools. But right now, such families too often have access to fewer, not more, quality school options. Even when a family finds the right fit for their child, it’s often out of reach, due to income or transportation restraints, housing barriers, limited enrollment slots, and other challenges.

We created this campaign because we know that changing education policies and practices–and, ultimately, outcomes for students–must start with honest conversations based on families’ lived experience. And this requires a shift in the ways we think and talk about students’ potential, about what families want for their children, about what’s working and not working in schools, and much more. Please reach out if you’d like to connect!

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