The Minnesota Department of Education recently released the first progress report on the closing of the achievement gaps that exist in Minnesota. The Star Tribune reported that, “In math, more than half of the state’s districts and charter schools are not meeting their score targets for special education students, students with limited English, black students and poor students. In reading, most districts met their targets for students of color, but more than half did not meet their goals for special education and white students.”
In 2013, the DFL controlled legislature and Governor Dayton passed a bill to create the “World’s Best Workforce” with five goals; that all children are ready for school, all third-graders can read at grade level, all racial and economic achievement gaps between students are closed, all students are ready for career and college, and all students graduate from high school.
While there’s certainly more work to be done towards creating the “World’s Best Workforce,” the report provides a better look at the progress young Minnesota learners are making.
It is in light of this progress and work still to be done that we should commend Governor Dayton and the DFL controlled Senate for their leadership last session to provide $525 Million in K-12 funding for the two year budget period – preventing budget cuts and teacher layoffs. Let’s not forget that the House Republican plan for education, HF 844, would have resulted in staff and program cuts and didn’t even keep up with the rate of inflation.
Heading into the legislative session, we’re bound to hear a lot from Republicans about what they’ll do for education and the achievement gap. But if last session was any indication, they’ll continue prioritizing their corporate allies instead of Minnesota kids.