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Senate GOP suggests breaking up Minneapolis school district

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It's not likely to pass, but an idea pitched at the Minnesota Capitol Thursday symbolizes the major parties' different takes on how to help struggling schools.

A group of Senate Republicans suggested breaking the Minneapolis school district into six smaller ones.

As the Pioneer Press reports, the proposal reflects the GOP's preference for tackling school shortcomings with new approaches rather than more money.

Sen. David Hann of Eden Prairie cited Minneapolis' graduation rate of less than 60 percent and a stubborn gap in test scores between white and minority students in saying "If you are going to change the results and the achievement gap, you have to change the system," the newspaper reports.

Under the proposal, each of the new Minneapolis districts could opt out of state mandates in the same way charter schools do, which supporters say would lead to more innovation and community involvement.

There was skepticism. On Twitter ...

... and in Minneapolis.

The interim superintendent of Minneapolis Public Schools issued a statement saying the district is already moving to decentralize control and is making progress on the graduation rate and achievement gap.

The chair of the school board, Jenny Arneson, noted to the Star Tribune that no one involved in the GOP proposal is from Minneapolis, adding she disagrees with the idea that dismantling the system is the best way to address the achievement gap.

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