In January of 2020, following research showing Minnesota has some of the nation’s largest education gaps, former Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Alan Page launched an effort to amend the Minnesota state constitution to include a fundamental right to a quality public education for all children.
The Page Amendment is named in honor of Justice Page’s efforts to reform education in Minnesota.
The Page Amendment is named for Alan Page, a retired Minnesota State Supreme Court Justice and former professional football player. Justice Page was a defensive tackle for the Minnesota Vikings from 1967 to 1978, and named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1988. He served on the Minnesota Supreme Court from 1993 to 2015, as the first African American to serve on the court. Justice Page founded the Justice Page Education Foundation in 1988 providing financial and mentoring assistance to students of color. In exchange for the assistance, students commit to participating in volunteer service in their community. To date, the foundation has awarded $15 million in grants to 7,000 students. Justice Page was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2018, which is our country’s highest civilian honor. In honor of Justice Page’s commitment to education, the North St. Paul-Maplewood-Oakdale school board voted in 2020 to name a new Maplewood elementary for Justice Page. Justice Alan Page Elementary School is set to open its doors in September 2022.
“Having been involved in education on both sides of the bench, I believe a quality education is without question the most powerful tool we have to break the cycle of poverty and create a society in which everyone can fully participate. The Page Amendment can ensure that each Minnesota child is given the right and the opportunity to succeed.”
Our Children MN is an organization working to inform Minnesotans of our state’s education gaps and to build support to pass the Page Amendment. We are forming a passionate, bipartisan coalition of education, government, and business leaders dedicated to closing education gaps across the state of Minnesota. The coalition believes that amending the Minnesota constitution to give every child the right to a quality education will serve as a much-needed catalyst to improve education in our state.
“When it comes to education, we have an opportunity to move Minnesota from the bottom of the pack to the top. Adequate is not good enough for families and children, and certainly not for our state. I believe that Minnesota can do better, and I am proud to fight for quality education for all Minnesota children.”
Mike McFadden is a member of the Board of Directors of Our Children MN. Mike is a businessman and former Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate for the state of Minnesota and has served on the board of directors for Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Minneapolis. Mike and his wife Mary Kate live in Sunfish Lake with their six children.
“The citizens of Minnesota are ready to have an honest, candid, and frank discussion about the state of our public education. As a co-founder of the Ciresi Walburn Foundation, I’ve seen first hand the deep inequities in our schools. I am driven to pursue education justice the same way I have pursued legal justice in my work as a lawyer.”
Michael Ciresi is a member of the Board of Directors of Our Children MN. Michael is a partner at Ciresi Conlin LLP, a philanthropist, and former DFL candidate for the U.S. Senate for Minnesota. He co-founded the Ciresi Walburn Foundation, facilitating programs and policies promoting education and equitable opportunities for Minnesota children. He is constantly working to be a force for good in the courtroom and in the community.
“I firmly believe that the best social service program in the world is a job. Each Minnesota child must be prepared to engage civically and economically in our society and our state’s future if it is to be bright and prosperous. It doesn’t matter who that student is, what they look like, or where they come from.”
Louis King is a member of the Board of Directors of Our Children MN. He has more than 20 years experience in education, youth development and workforce development, and currently serves as President & CEO of Summit Academy OIC, a vocational school in Minneapolis. He has dedicated his work in education to lifting up disadvantaged communities. He served as a Major in the US Army for nearly a decade. Louis and his wife Beverly have three children.
“I am coming to this process with hope and optimism that Minnesota children who may have been lost in Minnesota’s public education system will have the chance to reach their fullest potential when we pass the Page Amendment. We must have the courage to act, to decide, and to know what needs to be done to promise Minnesota children a better tomorrow. The Page Amendment is the policy that Minnesota needs to address the public education system before we lose another generation.”
Dr. Bernadeia Johnson is a member of the Board of Directors of Our Children MN. Bernadeia is the former superintendent of Minneapolis Public Schools and currently serves as a professor at Minnesota State University, Mankato, where she is doing research on educational leadership, social justice and race. She holds several degrees. Bernadeia is a parent and grandparent and those roles contribute to her dedication to quality public education.
“When I think of my 17-year-old daughter who has Down Syndrome and her unique education needs, when I think of native children and others that Minnesota leaves behind, and when I think about seven generations from now, I know I’m doing the right thing today. Passing the Page Amendment ensures ALL children have a right to quality public education. The work we are doing today will impact children for generations.”
Nevada Littlewolf is the Page Amendment Campaign Manager & Executive Director. Before joining the team, Nevada served as Minnesota’s state Political Director for the 2020 Biden Presidential Campaign. She brings years of experience to the team, having worked across sectors of community, government, philanthropy, non-profit, and business. Nevada served on the Virginia City Council for ten years from 2008-2018. Nevada is a citizen of Leech Lake nation and has two children.
“I work in government, political campaigns and issue advocacy because I like to be part of transformational change. Status quo and “get to no” mentalities don’t have a place in our truly exceptional country. Neither does adequate education for our children. All children, despite their socioeconomic status, deserve a quality education.”
Kirsten Kukowski is the strategist and communications director of Our Children MN. Kirsten is a co-founder and partner of K2 & Co., a Saint Paul-based public relations and public affairs firm. She has spent more than a decade working on national and statewide campaigns, non-profit development, and communications.