Minnesota’s promise to its kids should be to give every student an excellent public education, no matter their zip code or the color of their skin. But according to the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau statistics, a growing number of our students aren’t benefiting from that promise.
The minority and low-income populations in Minnesota are and have been on the rise, yet these are the kids that frequently fall through the cracks of our public education system:
African-American fourth graders in Minnesota score worse than African- American students in Alabama.
Minnesota fourth graders rank ninth out of 50 states in reading, but our poor fourth graders rank 29th
By the time they enter high school, more than 80 percent of Minnesota’s Latino students are unprepared to read grade-level material.
In 2003, our achievement gap in eighth grade math was bad (we ranked 38th out of 50 states for poor students), but now it’s much worse: we moved all the way down to 49th place.
We know that it doesn’t have to be that way. Schools like Harvest Prep or Dayton’s Bluff Achievement Plus are beating the odds and proving that every child can learn; they serve mainly minority and low-income students and are making tremendous gains in closing the achievement gap.
By enacting smart policies like the ones we’re advocating for in our Minnesota School Emergency in Effect campaign, we can make the kind of success these schools have seen in closing to all of our public schools. It’s time to prove to our kids that when it comes to realizing the American Dream, it’s what you do–not who you are or where you live–that matters.