How in heaven’s name can Minnesota possibly achieve a 75% rate of high-schoolers attending college by 2020 when the very survival of the state’s pre-school through senior high school system is in dire straits – facing a questionable future given recent budgets and a disastrous combination of higher education tuition increases and K-12 budget cuts and shifts over the last few years?
Moreover, the drop-out rates among large percentages of our kids of color, especially, would seem to work severely against any notion of successful educational attainment by anywhere near the 75% advanced as a goal by Growth and Justice Policy Research group and its partner in this enterprise, the Minnesota Minority Education Partnership (MMEP).
But 75% remains the goal – or rather a challenge – issued by the coalition to this season‘s major party candidates for governor. How did they respond? Tune in Monday morning and find out – just in time for Tuesday’s elections.
Is 75% college attainment absolutely necessary for economic success? We’ve certainly assumed as much for many years, and some statistics suggest that 70% of our jobs will require a college degree or some sort of post-secondary education (this according to Growth & Justice which quotes the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce).
The real task will be to close the ever-widening achievement gap (Minnesota’s is the widest of all states) and elevate our state’s own increasingly diverse but underachieving kids of color to college-ready status.
What is it about Minnesota that results in such a disgraceful set of statistics? What have we done to our public education system that our state’s best and brightest are too often sent to schools that segregate them from kids of color, leaving the public schools deprived of the needed resources to graduate everyone who walks into a public classroom and receives a solid education? Money, yes. But irresponsible public policies and decisions have slowly but surely undermined what was once regarded as the country’s finest.
What to do about generating both the public will and the public pressure to act in the enlightened self-interest to adequately fund and invoke policies that favor the state’s economic future through education? TTT’s ANDY DRISCOLL and LYNNELL MICKELSEN talk with a few of the leaders in this effort.