Thanks for joining us today. We appreciate the questions coming in. Denise is going start us off.
It is important to address the gaps for the economic and social well being of the city and the region.
It is important to address the gaps for the economic and social well being of the city and the region. Nearly 70 percent of students in Minneapolis public schools are students of color; they need to be well educated to become productive, contributing adults and part of the workforce.
Discrimination isn’t dead, and we shouldn’t suppose it doesn’t exist here.
But few thoughtful observers think it’s likely that racism is unusually severe in Minnesota.
Minnesota’s particular problem with gaps is something of a mystery, but it may have historical causes having to do with the minority populations that have migrated here.
But it in the end what has cuyased our large gaps is less important than that we recognize the issue and focus on turning things around.
The mayor and city council member can support school district efforts to improve achievement.
They can use city resources to provide out of school programming for youth, and assistance for pregnant moms, and families of preschoolers to help get them ready for Kindergarten
It’s a good point, and the changing nature of jobs under globalization is a big problem. But in a sense it’s a different problem.
With minority achievement levels as low as they are today, we know that a lot of high potential is being squandered. A lot of those kids could go on to succeed famously in collage and develop advanced skills – if only they could get off to a better start.
And we’re going to need them to reach their potential, because they are going to make up a big part of the workforce down the road.
Yes, there are a few charter schools and traditional schools that have made good progress in narrowing the gaps
Harvest Prep and Hiawatha Academy, for example.
But even they have more work to do. And the programs that are doing a horrible job should be reconstituted or closed
Well, as Denise noted, it's not JUST charters that are succeeding.
But in some cases the flexibilities charters have over curriculum and staffing and so on make innovation possible.
But you're right that successful strategies need to be duplicated more effectively -- wherever they come from.
Lawmakers are beginning to put more resources toward pre school
This year the legislature approved funds for all day kindergarten and preschool scholarships
Getting early education right lays the foundation for young people to do well in school.
There are huge differences between the number of words that 4 year old from different income levels know, for example, when they start school. Quality preschool can change that
You’re absolutely right that what’s holding too many people back goes way beyond the schools.
That’s why intervening in troubled homes and neighborhoods in other ways is so important a part of a real strategy to close gaps.
But at the same time, school plays a huge role in young people’s lives, and educators are in a unique position to reach kids, open their imaginations and give them a new sense of themselves, along with the basic skills one needs to succeed.
Schools cannot fix housing, health income and employment issues in disadvantaged communities. But they can make adjustments in the 6 hours a day they have with children.
They can improve their culture competency and use research driven teaching methods to reach diverse groups of kids
Gaps of this kind exist most everywhere
But we're used to outperforming the nation in measures like this.