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Children First: A Community Conversation on Educating All Children

January 13, 2020
Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis
Minneapolis, Minnesota

Children First: A Community Conversation on Educating All Children

Retired Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Alan Page and Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari launched an initiative in January 2020 to introduce an amendment to the Minnesota constitution to guarantee quality education for all children. The goal: to close Minnesota’s statewide education achievement gaps.

This kickoff event—“Children First: A Community Conversation on Educating All Children”— attracted more than 200 concerned civic, business, education, and elected leaders to detail the specifics of the proposed amendment, to seek new ideas, and to build momentum for this important initiative.

“The winners in this amendment are children. Everybody we meet with says they want to put children first—this is the chance to finally do that.”
— Neel Kashkari

“It’s about changing the future for the children of Minnesota, and I guess you can say that’s bold.”
— Alan Page

Program Agenda

1:00 p.m. Welcome [Video]
Neel Kashkari, President, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis
1:05 p.m. Overview of research [Video]
Anusha Nath, Research Economist, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis
1:30 p.m. Why a constitutional amendment? [Video]
Justice Alan Page and President Neel Kashkari
Moderator: Angela Davis, Host of MPR News with Angela Davis
2:10 p.m.

Community Response Panels


Doug Baker, Chairman and CEO, Ecolab
Kathleen Harrington, President, Rochester Chamber of Commerce
Representative Rena Moran, District 65A
Charlie Weaver, Executive Director, Minnesota Business Partnership
Representative Jay Xiong, District 67B
Moderator: Alene Tchourumoff, Senior Vice President, Community Development & Engagement, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis


Carrie Brimhall, President, Minnesota State Community and Technical College
Carlton Jenkins, Superintendent, Robbinsdale Area Schools
Erin Rathke, Principal, Justice Page Middle School, Minneapolis Public Schools
Sondra Samuels, Executive Director, Northside Achievement Zone
Moderator: Anusha Nath, Research Economist, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis

4:00 p.m. Keynote [Video]
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison
Introduced by President Neel Kashkari
4:25 p.m. Next steps [Video]
President Neel Kashkari
4:30 p.m. Reception


NEEL KASHKARI has been the president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis since 2016.

ALAN PAGE was a Minnesota Supreme Court Justice from 1992 to 2015. For a half century, he has committed himself to lifting up students of color to pursue post-secondary education. In 1988, he and his wife, Diane, established the Page Education Foundation, which, to date, has awarded $15 million in grants to 7,000 students. He is a Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipient and a member of both the College and Pro Football halls of fame.

ANUSHA NATH has been a Minneapolis Fed economist since 2016. Her research focuses on applied microeconomics, development economics, and political economy.

ANGELA DAVIS is the host of MPR News with Angela Davis.


DOUG BAKER is chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Ecolab Inc., the global leader in water, hygiene, and energy technologies and services that protect people and vital resources.

KATHLEEN HARRINGTON is the president of the Rochester Area Chamber of Commerce. She had a long career in politics in Washington, D.C., and, later, with Mayo Clinic.

REPRESENTATIVE RENA MORAN has represented District 65A in the Minnesota House since 2011. She was the first African American to represent St. Paul in the state’s House.

CHARLIE WEAVER is executive director of the Minnesota Business Partnership, representing the state’s leading employers. He’s had a long career in public service as a Minnesota House member, chief of staff to Gov. Tim Pawlenty, and agency commissioner.

REPRESENTATIVE JAY XIONG represents District 67B in the Minnesota House. He is a co-founder of the Asian American Organizing Project and Progressive Hmong American Organizers, and was the first person of color to hold the House seat in his district.

ALENE TCHOURUMOFF is the Minneapolis Fed’s senior vice president of Community Development and the Center for Indian Country Development. Prior to joining the Bank, Tchourumoff served as chair of Minnesota’s Metropolitan Council.

CARRIE BRIMHALL is president of Minnesota State Community and Technical College, with campuses in Detroit Lakes, Fergus Falls, Moorhead, and Wadena. Her focus is on workforce solutions, leadership development, and community partnerships.

CARLTON JENKINS has been superintendent of Robbinsdale Area Schools since 2015. He began his career in 1989 as a physical education teacher before serving in key leadership roles in public schools in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, and Georgia.

ERIN RATHKE has served as the principal at Justice Page Middle School in Minneapolis since 2014. She was an assistant vice principal at Minneapolis Edison High and was a physical education teacher for more than 20 years.

SONDRA SAMUELS is president and CEO of the Northside Achievement Zone. With more than 40 partner nonprofits and schools, NAZ prepares low-income North Minneapolis children to graduate from high school and college, and to be career-ready.

Keynote Speaker

KEITH ELLISON is Minnesota’s 30th attorney general, the “People’s Lawyer.” From 2007 to 2019, he represented Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. Before being elected to Congress, Ellison served four years in the Minnesota House of Representatives and spent 16 years as an attorney specializing in civil-rights and defense law, including five years as executive director of the Legal Rights Center.