We heard it on CNN, but for some reason, we said nothing. We read it on the internet, but still remained silent. No matter how much we ignore, overlook, or turn our backs on the problem, the truth is clear: when it comes to student achievement, Minnesota’s public schools are divided.
Sure we’ve got many student success stories, but it usually concerns our states most affluent white students. As they carrying our states educational “image” upward, the embarrassing secret is that our low-income and students of color are not.
On MinnCAN’s website, Executive Director Daniel Sellers says, “Not only are Minnesota’s achievement gaps (e.g. between white students and students of color, and across different socioeconomic backgrounds) among the worst in the U.S., but our Black elementary students actually score worse than their peers in the Deep South.”
The good news is that there have been recent education reform policies that have helped change the direction and conversation in Minnesota. But critics feel that the ‘ripples’ stirred up by statewide teacher evaluations and alternative teacher certifications need to grow to ‘seismic’ waves that propel kids to success. Here are a few suggestions:
- MN parents should have a choice among high-performing schools
- School leaders should have the autonomy to run great schools – including the flexibility to recruit and retain excellent teachers
- Schools, districts, and communities should be held accountable for student achievement…that means us too!
This isn’t about pointing the finger. If our children fail, we as a community are the ones to blame. Luckily, there are organizations like MinnCAN who are fighting for change in our educational system. Students for Education Reform have worked tirelessly to start a movement that will aid in closing the achievement gap and are planning a rally at the University of Minnesota on October 19th to get more people involved in our children’s future. Please visit KMOJFM.com as we will keep you informed and updated about this issue.
If you’d like to learn more about MinnCAN, take a look at their fact sheet at http://minncan.org/sites/minncan.org/files/2012MinnCAN-FactSheet-WEB-2.pdf
Or, Students for Education Reform at http://www.studentsforedreform.org/
What do YOU think? What can you do to help close the achievement gap?