Campaign draws attention to disparity in student achievementby Jessica Mador, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — A public service campaign calling for an end to the state's achievement gap will blanket local media and Twin Cities skyways.
The Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi Foundation for Children wants to draw attention to the gap between low-income or racial minority students, and their more affluent and white counterparts. A recent study by the Minneapolis Foundation found that while about 81 percent of higher-income third-graders read at grade level, just 37 percent of their lower-income peers are.
The state has one of the widest achievement gaps in the nation. said Mike Ciresi, Foundation president. The achievement gap is especially detrimental when it comes to pre-kindergarten education, he said.
More support is needed for programs that help children overcome this gap to succeed in school, Ciresi said. He would like to see more Minnesota lawmakers and business leaders get involved in finding solutions to the problem.
"There is a tremendous gap between those who have really good early learning and those who don't, and it's very difficult to catch up," Ciresi said. "Unless we develop these programs and make them available to everybody, we are going to have more and more children falling behind and they don't catch up and that has social cost down the road to us."
Ciresi also supports establishing a longer school day and school year to help Minnesota kids compete with children in other countries.