Youthprise: Disrupting with Purpose Event Series – Cultural Climate Change – Education Edition

Cultural Climate Change – Education Edition
Young people’s thoughts on fostering a healthy and equitable school culture
Over the past year and in various settings, Youthprise has repeatedly heard young people of color express a common theme about Minnesota’s education system: It’s broken. Teachers and administrators face the arduous task of navigating a system that, in many ways, is inequitable at its core and promotes disparate outcomes for students who identify as Black, Indigenous, and people of color. When asked about Minnesota’s K-12 public school system, only 15% of Black Minnesotans and 23% of Indigenous Minnesotans believe that their children “just about always” or “most of the time” have the same opportunities as White children in the K-12 public school system (MPR News, 2021). There is a significant amount of data that supports this sentiment of systemic inequity in the state’s education system. A 2022 report by the Minnesota Department of Human Rights indicates that Black and Indigenous students are 8 to 10 times more likely to be suspended or expelled than their white counterparts. In addition, according to Minnesota Compass, on-time graduation rates for youth of color are significantly lower than their white counterparts. Further, research reveals fewer opportunities for dual enrollment at high schools with a higher share of students of color (Grunewald et al., 2016).

How can we shift the cultural climate for Minnesota’s Black, Indigenous, and students of color to one that fosters emotional well-being, equitable opportunities, and academic success? Cultural Climate Change: Education Edition will examine the culture and structure of Minnesota’s public school system through the eyes of students and educators. The multigenerational dialogue will focus on examining school culture. The discussion will cross three domains:

How school culture connects to families and the community;
The quality and essence of interactions among young people and between students and teachers/administrators; and
The importance of including young people’s voices in how to improve the current environment.
As with all of our Disrupting with Purpose events, youth will be centered in the discussion, with their voices taking center stage. We will also enlist educators, practitioners, and other professionals specializing in racial equity in education to offer their perspectives. Join us for a timely and vital discussion.


Grunewald, R., Horowitz. B., Ky, Kim-Eng, & Tchourumoff, A. (2016). Minnesota’s education system shows persistent opportunity gaps by race. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. (accessed August 20, 2023)

Minnesota Compass (2023). High school students graduating on-time by race: Minnesota, 2012 - 2022. (accessed August 20, 2023)

Minnesota Department of Human Rights. (2022). Suspensions and expulsions report: Lessons learned and next steps. (accessed August 20, 2023).

Shockman, Elizabeth. (Sept. 20, 2021). Survey: Minnesotans of color are less likely to believe schools offer equal opportunities. MPR News. (accessed August 20, 2023).

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