Minnesota Reading Test Scores Decline

The results of last school year’s Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment tests (MCA’s) are in and they’re taking educators and parents by surprise.  A double digit drop in reading proficiency was realized across all Minnesota 3rd – 8th graders who took the test this past school year.  Reading proficiency dropped from 76% last year to 58% this year while math proficiency improved by three percentage points.  A deeper look at the results indicates a startling disparity between white students and students of color with a gap of 20 – 30 percentage points separating the two groups in math, science and reading.

One reason for the drastic drop may be a change to the test itself.  For the first time, the MCA’s were based on the Common Core curriculum, a national set of standards designed to reflect the knowledge and skills that children need to succeed in college and careers.

Test your reading comprehension skills with an example of the Common Core format from this past year’s MCA’s.

Read more about the results in Minneapolis

CNN Spotlights Minneapolis’ Achievement Gap


Tune in on Friday, August 30th for CNN’s presentation of ‘Great Expectations’, the next episode in Soledad O’Brien’s ‘Black in America’ documentary series.  Soledad and the CNN crew spent the past year investing the education of black boys at Harvest Prep, a Minneapolis-based charter school serving 300+ students in grades K – 6.  The documentary promises to provide a unique perspective on Minneapolis’ Achievement Gap through the voices of educators, activists, children and parents.

Impact of Sequestration Cuts on Early Education

57,000 children nationwide, including 1,000 children in Minnesota, will be denied a place in Head Start and Early Head Start due to fallout from the sequester.  In addition to a reduction in the number of available spots, Head Start will be forced to:

  • Cut 1.3 million days of service
  • Provide 18,000 fewer hours of service through shortened school days
  • Terminate or reduce salaries of 18,000 employees

Source: Department of Health and Human Services

Head Start and Early Head Start are programs of the United States Department of Health and Human Services and provide comprehensive health, nutrition and education services to low-income children and their families.

Supporters of Head Start say research shows it offers substantial long-term benefits in key areas such as educational achievement while critics argue that Head Start has little or no lasting effects on its participants.

Worst Cuts to Head Start Since Program Began


Crowdsourced: Grassroots Effort to Expand School Breakfast

Blog081613Do the schools in your area offer a breakfast program?  Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign collaborated with Deloitte in 2012 to determine the long-term impact of hunger in the classroom.  Input your zip code to determine if the schools in your area participate in a breakfast program and if there’s a gap, take action!


Friday Fact

25%25.1 percent of 7th through 12th grade math classes in high-poverty schools are taught by teachers with neither a certification nor a major in the subject. In low-poverty schools, it’s 11.4 percent. Those who need the most get the least.

Source: S. Almy and C. Theokas, “Not Prepared for Class: High Poverty Schools Continue to Have Fewer In-Field Teachers,