Twin Cities education 'not living up to' potential, nonprofit says


A nonprofit education group announced it's been given $4 million to help reduce the achievement gap in Twin Cities schools – after its annual "report card" highlighted major racial and socio-economic disparities.

Generation Next, helmed by former Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak, found a lack of progress is being made to improve results at schools in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

"You are not living up to your potential," Rybak said to adults in the local education community as part of the report.

In 2014, fewer than half of students (39 percent) read at grade level by the time they reached third grade, and only 42 percent were at grade level in eighth grade math (down from 44 percent in 2013).

One area trending in a positive direction is four-year graduation rates, which rose to 61 percent in 2014 compared to 56 percent in 2013 and 52 percent in 2012, the report says.

In most categories, the report notes there are "significant gaps" in achievement between racial and ethnic groups, with particular concern over the graduation rate for black students, which stands at just 31 percent.

"One of the great communities anywhere around, number one city for so many things, also happens to be number one for the largest gaps between kids of color and the rest of the population, and that’s not acceptable," Rybak said at a press conference Thursday, according to the Star Tribune.

The findings come a few weeks after a study by the Center on Reinventing Public Education identified the Minneapolis as having one of the lowest graduation rates for major urban areas in the United States.

The Generation Next report contains warning signs for the future prospects of Twin Cities students once they leave school.

It says that projections for Minnesota indicate 74 percent of jobs in the state in 2020 will need some kind of post-secondary degree – yet fewer than half of students in Minnesota go on to get a post-secondary degree.<

$4M contributions to improve screenings, childcare quality

The Southwest Journal reports the nonprofit announced $4 million in donations on Thursday, with $1 million coming from Greater Twin Cities United Way.

This will go towards the "Screen @ 3" initiative to expand early childhood screenings to an extra 7,000 kids by 2018, focusing particularly on children of color and American Indian children.

Early childhood screening identifies health and developmental needs before a child enters kindergarten, according to St. Paul Public Schools.

A further $3 million, three-year grant from the Bush Foundation will be used to "increase the number of high-quality childcare providers in the region," the newspaper notes.

Generation Next found just 28 percent of early childhood programs are rated as high quality in the Twin Cities, while only 8 percent of the 436 licensed family childcare programs are high quality.

The nonprofit says quality early childhood care is "critical to improving long-term outcomes."

Next Up

court gavel

Judge finds man guilty in Hibbing Christmas Day murder

Jerome Spann fatally shot Jeryel McBeth on Christmas Day 2018.

Reyel Simmons photo 1 - complaint - crop

Popular TikToker shared his life as a federal agent. Charges say it's all a lie.

Authorities allege the Minnesota man has a long history of deceit.


Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Tuesday, September 21

Today's report features cumulative data from Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

Pixabay - school - classroom

6 Minnesota schools named National Blue Ribbon Schools

The schools are recognized for their academic performance or progress in closing the achievement gap.

stalk and spade

Stalk & Spade opening a second location, this one in Edina

The 50th and France location will open in "early 2022."

burnsville center

Burnsville Center seeking approval to aid in redeveloping struggling mall

The Burnsville City Council will vote on the plan on Tuesday.

Screen Shot 2021-09-21 at 8.56.07 AM

Watch: Deputy springs to action as classic car burns near house

It was a race against time as the flames neared the house.

Mike Zimmer

Mike Zimmer needs to become 'Riverboat Zim' to save the Vikings

Zimmer's tendencies have put him on the edge of the hot seat.

Screen Shot 2020-01-02 at 7.54.07 AM

Fridley woman guilty of all charges for role in Monique Baugh murder

Monique Baugh died New Year's Eve 2019 after being kidnapped and shot.

Mall of America

COVID vaccination site at Mall of America to expand hours, capacity

The site will increase its capacity to 500 doses a day.

Charlotte Tomassoni

Iron Range senator's wife charged with domestic assault

Sen. Tomassoni said he didn't think he'd be able to defend himself due to his ALS diagnosis.


CDC: Minnesotans sickened by salmonella from unknown food source

Minnesota has reported the second-most cases so far.