Students for Education Reform - Minnesota is shifting power to low-income communities by disrupting institutional and structural oppression to influence process and public opinion that leads to an equitable education system for all kids. We develop college students and community members into grassroots organizers who fight for educational justice in their communities.
Students and families negatively impacted by the system have power and influence to shape their own educational experience and to achieve educational justice for every child.
Educational justice cannot be achieved unless schools are safe, academically challenging, and inspire every child to reach their limitless potential. Every child in Minnesota should be respected in school and affirmed for their identity, have equitable access to resources and opportunities, make progress and be on track academically each year, graduate with the skills they need for college and beyond.
Who We Are
We are Minnesota students and families directly affected by our nation's unjust education system. We are the Minnesota chapter of the national Students for Education Reform.
SFER members are active college and community members, organized around college and neighborhood-based chapters. Over two-thirds of our members are people of color, over 80% are from low-income and working-class households, and one-third of our student members are the first in their family to go to college. Our powerful diversity stems from our conviction that the strongest advocates for education reform are the students and families who experienced injustice in the school system firsthand.
Our members have fought against the odds and came from families who valued education but whom society assumes do not. They saw education as a way out of poverty and would do whatever was necessary to make sure that their children had access to additional opportunities. But once these students make it to college they look around and see that many children they grew up with aren't there at college with them.
That's where the first seed is planted. They ask: what's wrong with our school system? Why are my friends, my cousins, my aunties and uncles not here today? They're not motivated by statistics or research, they're motivated by how unfair the education system is and how it's impacting their friends and family. They get angry and then they get active.
Our community members have also mostly grown up in poverty and live in neighborhoods with underperforming schools, many are immigrants, most are people of color, and all have struggled to be heard as they advocate for their kids' educational needs.
What We Do
We organize and train our members to expose, dismantle, challenge & change unjust policies, practices & systems of power.
We engage, respect, and connect students and community members as experts and leaders.
Our members choose issues to work on that are most negatively impacting them, their peers, their children, and their community.
We use a variety of tactics to disrupt and create change.
Why We Exist
We fight because we have to. Minnesota doesn't educate all of its children equally – with devastating personal consequences.
By design, the system excludes children of color & children in poverty from opportunity & success. We have the most at stake.
Despite repeated promises to address the education equity gap by leaders and advocates alike, the system won't change without people most affected by this injustice using our power to make deep and lasting change.
What We Achieve
We're changing and challenging laws, and achieving sustainable, systemic improvements that create more equitable education AND distribution of power.
People most affected by the unjust educational system must be in decision-making roles at every level of power. That's the only way to ensure changes to our education system will truly bring justice -- and that the gains we fight for will benefit future generations.