Over the last half of the 20th century, American public schools graduated 60-70% of students; 30% of these students continued to college. This served the expectations of the public and the needs of the U.S. economy. Today the world is different. We need 100% of our students ready for learning beyond high school. But do we really mean 100%? And are we ready to do whatever it takes to make that happen?
Currently, there is a huge achievement gap between students who live in poverty and those in higher socio-economic families. This “gap” is all the more startling because kids living in poverty are disproportionately children of color; also startling is that 37% of our children in the Minnesota K-12 system live in poverty. This achievement gap is pronounced and unacceptable. Without intervention, those gaps follow children into adulthood – in higher education, job skills, income, and health.
Educational equity is not just a moral issue, but a wake-up call for the U.S. economy. By 2025, those who may now be called “minority” will be the “majority” in our K-12 system. These children are seriously our future.
Minnesota Aims to Ratchet Down Achievement Gap (Education Week, Feb. 2014)