Attend SciMathMN Policymaker Briefing On March 4th

SciMathMN, a non-profit, statewide education and business coalition, hosts the SciMathMN Policymaker Briefing on Tuesday, March 4th.  The event will feature state policymakers and education leaders and will highlight the rapidly changing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education policy landscape.

Program Overview + Speakers: 

  • Marilee Grant, Boston Scientific and Allison Liuzzi, Wilder Foundation will discuss what the data is showing from MN Compass
  • R.T. Rybak, Generation Next, will discuss how this broad coalition of leaders will advance educational excellence and narrow the achievement gap
  • Steve Kelley will moderate a panel of education leaders in the MN legislature including Rep. Paul Marquart, Rep Sandra Erickson, Sen. Chuck Wiger, Sen. Carla Nelson, and Senator Patricia Torres Ray

When:   March 4, 2014
Where: University of St. Thomas, Anderson Student Center
Cost:    No Charge
Time:   5:00pm – Networking/Registration; 6:00-8:00pm – Program

Register Today:


Attend Policy and a Pint: The State of Education

Join host Steve Seel and guests Sondra Samuels of the Northside Achievement Zone, Kerry Muse of Venture Academy in Minneapolis and Michelle Walker, CEO of St. Paul Public Schools for an evening presentation on the state of Minnesota education.

We know Minnesota is changing fast. The jobs of the future will be different, and our workforce will be more diverse than ever. So how are Minnesota’s schools making sure the students of today and tomorrow will be ready? Our State of the State series continues with a look at education at the next Policy and a Pint. Many of Minnesota’s youngest students of color fall behind before they’ve even attended their first day of school. What needs to happen to not only get these children ready to learn, but ready to lead?

Doors open at 5:30 and the presentation starts at 6:00 pm.  For additional information and to purchase tickets:

Progress Made Toward Closing Achievement Gap in Minnesota

New data, published by the Minnesota Department of Education, indicates that most districts and charter schools are on track to cut the achievement gap in half by 2017.  Education Commissioner, Brenda Cassellius, stated that the improvements demonstrate that the 2017 goal is within reach:

“For the first time, we have concrete goals around gaps, and are letting our school leaders know exactly how far they need to go to be fully on track to close these gaps.”

The data measures academic performance by student subgroup: white, black, Hispanic, American Indian, Asian, special education, low-income and English language learners.  The data from 2013 indicates that:

  • 43% of districts have met their reading target for every subgroup
  • 40% of districts have met their math target for every subgroup


Report Finds That Schools Deny Lunch When Students Can’t Pay

Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid conducted a survey of 309 public Minnesota school districts and found that 46 school districts (15%) reported “…a policy or practice of an immediate or eventual refusal to serve hot lunch or an alternative meal to a child who cannot pay.”

The report also found that:

  • 165 districts offer a less nutritious meal option if a student cannot pay for the hot meal option
  • 98 districts never refuse to serve a student the hot meal option even if they cannot pay

In response to the study, Governor Mark Dayton announced that he will pursue $3.5 million in additional funding, during the 2014 legislative session, to expand free lunch services to all reduced-price students in Minnesota

The Impact of A Mentor

Indiana has the seventh widest graduation gap in the country where 49% of black males graduate high school compared to 80% of their white male peers.  Although there are a variety of factors that impact the 31% gap, one organization, My Brother’s Keeper, attempts to close this gap through peer mentoring.

Young men who participate in the program are required to earn A’s & B’s, to complete 30 hours of community service and to uphold a strict set of standards.  Virgil Tharp, My Brother’s Keeper founder, hopes the program’s impact will trickle down from one generation to the next:

“Now we have greater and better fathers, better brothers, better husbands.”

To learn more about the program, listen to Northeast Indiana Public Radio’s report on the organization.

TEDx Talk: The Next Generation of Female Engineers

Only 14% of engineers are women, according to the Congressional Joint Economic Committee.  Reasons for the gap include a lack of female engineering role models, a misconception of engineering careers and a lack of technical problem solving opportunities in the classroom versus their male counterparts.

Debbie Sterling, the creator & CEO of GoldieBlox, hopes to inspire the next generation of female engineers through the story of Goldie, a girl who builds machines to solve problems.  GoldieBlox is intended “to inspire girls the way Legos and Erector sets have inspired boys, for over 100 years, to develop an early interest and skill set in engineering.”