U.S. Kids 26th out of 29th.

According to a Unicef report issued last week — “Child Well-Being in Rich Countries” — the United States once again ranked among the worst wealthy countries for children. To read the full article from the New York Times, click here.

Some stats from the report:

  • The United States ranked 25th out of 29 in the percentage of people 15 to 19 years old who were enrolled in schools and colleges.
  • 23rd in the percentage of people in that cohort not participating in either education, employment or training.
  • The United States has the second highest share of children living under the relative poverty line.
  • CDF report says 2,857 kids drop out of high school each day.


Event: An evening discussing leaderships needs to create good schools

Event: The Leadership Factor with Dr. Steve Perry
Dr. Perry is one of the most exciting and outspoken leaders in education today. The author of Push Has Come to Shove: Getting Our Kids the Education They Deserve, Dr. Perry pulls no punches as he calls us all— leaders, teachers, parents, and students—to do what works to give every child an excellent education.

Monday, April 22
Fitzgerald Theater
St. Paul, MN

For more information on this event, click here.

About RESET Education:

Reset Education is a public awareness campaign and event series focused on closing the achievement gap. There are five proven strategies for creating public schools where every student succeeds. By promoting what works, we can raise expectations for what’s possible and help realize a brighter future for our community.

Minneapolis Mayor Rybak’s 2013 State of the City Speech

Mayor Rybak gave his State of The City Speech this week. Check out an excerpt on education and his thoughts on the achievement gap. To view entire speech, click here.

MayorBuild a Path for the Next Generation

The year 2025 is 12 years away. Most kids born this year will be in 6th grade. Today’s first graders will be graduating from high school. The 9th graders I talk to this fall about their careers will have been out of high school for nine years. Those who go on to higher education will have graduated five years earlier. Young people who graduate this year will well into of their careers.

By 2025, we will know whether Minneapolis’ next generation will be successful, or we will know whether another generation of Minneapolis will accept a shocking achievement gap that should never have been seen as acceptable.

Of the top 20 metropolitan areas in the country, Minneapolis–Saint Paul has the largest academic achievement gap. We are: DEAD. LAST. Our achievement gap means children of different races in our city have different futures. We would be outraged if we heard about this in another place and we should be even more outraged that it happens in our hometown. It is a social-justice issue. It is a civil-rights issue. It is an issue that is central to our economic future. And it may get worse.

Consider this: Our planners tell us that if we get the growth we want — if our population grows by 65,000 people between now and 2025, that growth will be almost exclusively among people of color. That is also the part of the population — African Americans, Native Americans, Latinos — that is suffering from the greatest disparities in academic achievement. So if we don’t take dramatic action, the achievement gap we should find totally unacceptable today will be dramatically bigger in 2025.

This is a crisis and we have to act like it. When the 35W bridge collapsed, we didn’t spend a few decades admiring the problem and another few decades having polite conversations about a few things we might want to do. But that’s what we have been doing for far too long with the collapse of the future of some of our kids.

There is absolutely nothing in the City Charter that gives the Mayor or this Council responsibility for the children of Minneapolis — but I’m proud that none of us acted that way. We have made major investments of our time and money in helping our kids. As a city and a community, we have:

• Brought down teenage pregnancy rates by 47 percent.
• Brought down the number of youth involved in violent crime by 59 percent.
• Brought down the number of children with elevated lead levels by 73 percent.

We helped lobby successfully for a $28-million Promise Neighborhoods grant from the Obama Administration for the Northside Achievement Zone. Our budgets have also funded the Youth Coordinating Board’s work coordinating out-of-school time.

It is very clear to me that the most significant factors that contribute to the achievement gap happen outside of school — poverty, public and mental health, family success, segregation, discrimination. But it is also an inescapable fact that our schools are not as successful as they must be in closing these gaps. Every elected official, every community leader, everyone in this room and everyone who cares about the future of Minneapolis must be willing to plunge into the challenging issues and politics of making our schools better.

I will continue to support Superintendent Johnson’s goals:

• High-quality teachers and principals in every school building. The single most important school-related factor in student success is the quality of the classroom teacher. We have to do more to place the very best teachers in schools with the most academically challenged students, do more to reward teachers and principals who are effective, and do more to remove those who aren’t.
• More high-quality instructional time, and more high-quality out-of-school time. Minneapolis has historically had one of the shortest school days and school years in the state and nation. This past school year we added four additional days to the school year. This is a start, but we need more.

Improving academic performance for every child in every school presents a significant challenge, but let’s remember that our community has tackled tough issues involving kids before, and succeeded. That has been the case with our work preventing youth violence. And no city in America is doing a better job creating summer jobs and career paths than we are with STEP-UP. Since 2004, we have placed 16,000 youth in high-quality summer jobs, and we are on track to place another 1,900 this summer.

And talk about closing gaps: our STEP-UP youth are 86 percent people of color, 50 percent from immigrant families and 93 percent from households living in poverty. Simply put, STEP-UP is a key strategy for closing both our racial economic gaps and our racial achievement gaps.

Going to Bed Hungry: What it means to be ‘food insecure”

The United States is the world’s wealthiest nation, yet we still have families and children who don’t have enough to eat. In Minnesota 1 in 10 households are food insecure and 4.3% families have very low food security.

Food insecure means families don’t have enough money to regularly obtain all the food they need. It means they are rationing food and skipping meals.

Take a look at an interview with Joel Berg of NYC’s Coalition Against Hunger. He discusses the consequences of and solutions for food insecurities. You can take action by singing the online pledge to ask the president and Congress enact the president’s pledge to end U.S. child hunger by 2015.


Cross-race Connections

Chemistry Teacher with Students in ClassMinnesota has the nation’s worst on-time graduation rates among Latinos and American Indians and is among the worst for black and Asian students.  See how several Minnesota teachers are learning how to be “culturally responsive” to students.  It’s another tool being used to help fight the achievement gap.

Click here for the entire article from MPR.

Voter turnout: A look at the 2012 Election

Once again Minnesota was number one in the country in voter turnout as it has been for eight of the last nine national elections.  76.1% of eligible Minnesotan voters turned up to the polls.  Not bad compared to the 59% national average.

Voter turnout

If you love data, take a look at Nonprofit Vote‘s 2012 Election recap. The extensive report covers everything from early voting stats to youth voting turnout.