To the editor:

Electing Art Coulson, Sakawdin Mohamed and Bianca Virnig to the District 196 School Board this November is so very important.

I know from my time as an District 196 parent, AVID tutor and district organization member that there has been some progress providing equitable and inclusive education to students. But much more is needed.

We must reach a time:

– When no student is yelled at in school hallways and told to go back to where they came from

– When no student’s educational opportunities are limited due to a lack of culturally responsive teaching or culturally aware environment

– When every student is valued for who they are and given every opportunity to succeed.

It’s about windows and mirrors.

– Mirrors so that all students see themselves in the people and materials involved in their education.

– Windows so that all students, including those in majority cultures, have opportunities to see into others’ worlds. To understand and accept others’ cultures, religious or secular beliefs, experiences and circumstances.

It’s about critical thinking.

– It’s not just critical thinking about history and the effects of terrible things done by one group to another.

– It’s also about gathering and evaluating information from diverse sources to become aware and knowledgeable about the world.

– It’s about how the past and present informs us for achieving a better future.

– Our students learning to think critically enables more of us to come together with understanding and empathy; enables more people working together to move forward – together.

We need to do everything in our power to enable all students; giving them windows into the larger world, mirrors of reflection, and critical thinking skills to take with them as they become contributing community members and leaders.

This is why the School Board election is so very important.

This is why we need diverse and critically thinking School Board members who will push for equitable, inclusive and excellent education for all students. This is why we must elect Art Coulson, Sakawdin Mohamed and Bianca Virnig to the District 196 School Board.

Gary Dion

Rosemount

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