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A quality education is elemental to ending poverty in Minnesota. While we have plenty to celebrate in our E-16 educational system, we also have a nation-leading racialized gap in educational attainment. 82 percent of white Minnesota students graduate from high school on time, but that number is less than 49% for African Americans and Latinos; and 36% for American Indians. Further, while 43 percent of white Minnesotans have earned a Bachelor’s degree, only 27 percent non-white Minnesotans have done so. Clearly we can do better.
Though many things contribute to school success for students, we believe education expenditures should focus on proven strategies that address school-based factors. Conclusive research suggests that the best public education investments focus on high quality early childhood education, improving instructional quality in classrooms, and increasing educational opportunity and equity in school districts. Minnesota children deserve leadership that funds a universal system of education that results in educated citizens.
- Increase parental empowerment and pathways to educational opportunity.
- Increase access to a universal system of high-quality early childhood education for Minnesota children that can most benefit from early interventions.
- Establish training for teachers and administrators to increase efficiency and effectiveness in the classroom.
- Increase options for students to complete high school on time, and close the gap between K12 and college.
- Universal pre-school and all-day kindergarten – Create a uniform system of school-based early childhood education, open to all 4 year olds, that aligns with Minnesota’s K-12 system.
- Teacher evaluation – Continue efforts to develop a fair and effective process for assessing the effectiveness of teachers. This includes fully funding implementation of Minnesota’s statewide teacher evaluation system passed into law in 2011.
- Secondary Redesign – Narrow the gaps between high school, college, and careers by creating collaborative “middle-college” options.
- Fair Testing – Ensure that Minnesota practices ethical assessment of students, which means eliminating high stakes tests that are not aligned with what students actually learn in classrooms. This includes replacing Minnesota’s GRAD examination with an assessment that is aligned with K-12 pathways (possibly the PLAN, EXPLORE, ACT pathway).