But certainly one of the things we need to do is to look at efforts other communities are making to see if there are useful ideas to borrow.
One reason is the whites here in Minnesota do very well compared to other states so there is a higher overall standard. Some of it is higher poverty and lower education attainment.
And another part is continuing racism and other kinds of bias.
From our Star Tribune Editorial on Growing Minneapolis: "The gap between white and African-American unemployment in Minneapolis is the largest among the top 50 U.S. cities. That’s why the city must continue to be actively involved in job training. Mayor Rybak noted that since 2002 the city has placed nearly 14,000 hard-to-employ and dislocated workers into good jobs. In 2012, 81 percent of the trainees were people of color."
Education overall is about 50 percent of state spending. Maybe 40 percent is k-12 and the rest higher education. So it's a lot of money
Yes racism and other forms of bias are part of the problem. But they aren't the only factors.
Schools must do more to educate students while they have them. And communities and families also have a role to play in better supporting kids
Family instability is a large concern that crosses racial lines.
But it is not one that lends itself easily to public policy solutions.
I agree that family instability is a part of the problem.
That's where government can help with more affordable housing, jobs programs, etc.
From Star Tribune editorial: "Minnesota and its largest city share the dubious distinction of having some of the largest gaps in the nation on measures of education, income, health and housing."
Our editorial board has strongly supported many reform ideas, including some that teacher unions oppose.
There is a strong movement to focus school policies ever more intensely on what works for kids, and not necessarily what's most desireable for adults in the system.
Charter schools are able to select the teachers that work best for their programs.
It would be helpful for some traditional public schools to have that same flexibility - to choose the right educators for their population of students.
We have time for a couple more questions.
Leaders in the business community are intensely focused on the gaps problem, because they see the coming shortage of qualified workers if the disparities in skills are not addressed.
They are strong advocates for education reform. But I think you’re right that businesses need to become more engaged in internship and retraining programs to try to connect disadvantaged people to the work force.
It is in the best interest of the business community to see that students are better educated. Many have developed partnerships with schools for that reason.
They have worked with programs like Step UP in Minneapolis to provide opportunities.
We may not be able to close them completely, but it is crucial that we narrow them
We all want a community in which people of all backgrounds and income levels can do well.
I'm for realism. I suppose you could say that even if the gaps went away, some new problems just as vexing would take their place.
But we have to face the challenges in front
of us and do everything we can.
Thanks, everyone, for joining us. You asked great questions. The transcript will be available online at Star Tribune Opinion. The final installment of our Growing Minneapolis series is about transit. Look for it online at Star Tribune Opinion at 5 p.m. Saturday, and in Sunday’s newspaper. Our final live chat is next Monday, Sept. 30. Editorial writer John Rash will be joining us. Have a good week.