A reading curriculum continues to spark outrage for a group of parents, teachers and community members in Minneapolis Public Schools.

A group called Social Justice Education Movement that organized a protest at a school board meeting this week said they plan to disrupt the October meeting as well.

The group of 20 or so protesters are demanding that Minneapolis Public Schools cancel its $1.2 million contract with Reading Horizons, a Utah-based company that provided books as part of a curriculum that some teachers found laden with cultural and racial stereotypes. Their protest forced an abrupt end to a school board meeting earlier Tuesday, which focused on a levy proposal.

Kate Towle, who was at the board meeting with the group, says the group is growing and will continue to demand that the district listen to its concerns. The group is made up of district parents, students, teachers and community members.

Videos posted on social media showed protesters standing behind the chairs of board members, holding signs and chanting “Whose school? Our school,” and “Hey hey, ho ho, Reading Horizons has got to go.” Board members were forced to yell into their microphones to approve the levy proposal before adjourning early.

Dirk Tedmon, the district’s spokesman, said the district’s position on the contract has not changed. The board earlier this month demanded a public apology from the company and a partial reimbursement.

“The board passed a very strong resolution, and we’ve been working on all aspects of that and are negotiating with the company,” Tedmon said.

District officials have said the books were never put in front of children and were sent back to the company.

Reading Horizons has since vowed to retool the books and diversify the team that designs the curriculum.

ALEJANDRA MATOS

 

Prior Lake High considers buying sports uniforms from one vendor

Prior Lake High School may soon purchase all its athletic uniforms from a single vendor, a move officials said will not only save time and money, but strengthen the school’s identity by giving teams a consistent image.

There are multiple uniform vendors and at least 18 different “Lakers” logos used for sports at Prior Lake, said activities director Russ Reetz.

The basketball logo, for instance, is shaped like a backboard and has a net at the bottom, while others feature the name of the sport written in various shades of blue and gold.

The school and its athletic programs have grown quickly, Reetz said.

“Part of [having one vendor] is to try to bring us all back in,” he said.

Buying uniforms from one supplier will give the school a discount on uniforms plus some free items up front. The ordering process will also be easier, Reetz said.

If approved at the Oct. 12 school board meeting, the vendor contract would probably start this spring. Teams would get new uniforms every four years, Reetz said.

Minneapolis Public Schools already contracts with one uniform provider, and other nearby districts are considering doing so, he said.

The updated uniforms would be charcoal gray with accents in light blue.

ERIN ADLER