Not Your Father’s Suburb: Race and Rectitude in a Changing Minnesota Community
“You don’t sign up for these jobs to do nothing. You sign up for them to what you think is the best thing for kids and their educations.”- Melissa Krull, former superintendent, Eden Prairie Public Schools
The otherwise quiet, uneventful city-suburb of Eden Prairie, erupted last year after educators proposed a new school assignment map designed to reduce racial and economic segregation. This former farming community quickly became the poster child for the racially and culturally shifting suburban landscape and a harbinger of storms to come. What differentiates Eden Prairie from the dozens, if not hundreds, of places similarly situated, is that educators here refused to cave under pressure from an organized, privileged class who saw no reason to mess with a “neighborhood school” organization that incorporated economic and racial segregation into its design. In this Story from the Field we learn that courage and flexibility may be the qualities educators in the changing American suburb need most of all. But in the long term, unless state and national government leaders affirm a vision of integration and develop clear plans for achieving it, forward thinking suburban educators like Eden Prairie’s will be left on their own and unjustly vulnerable as they face some of the most vexing challenges of our time.
“Stories From the Field” is an occasional publication of One Nation Indivisible, which is a joint project of CHHIRJ and the Poverty & Race Research Action Council.