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How to make Smart Investments in Minnesota's students

Minnesota faces major economic shifts that challenge our long-term prosperity. To meet the demand for skilled workers — and to ensure families can enjoy a decent standard of living — we should, by 2020, increase by 50 percent the share of Minnesota students who finish some post-secondary education. To reach that goal, we must invest in solutions now. Each year 10,000 high school students drop out, costing the state economy $10 billion over their lifetimes. Most agree that an educated workforce is good for business and families. Surveys show that a majority of Minnesotans would invest more in public education — if they believed the money will have the desired impact.  Read More

Birth to age 3

The youngest Minnesotans need quality health care, childcare and preschool to spur brain development and help launch the intellectual capabilities and social skills they’ll use in their school years and beyond.  Read More

Pre-kindergarten through grade 3

Minnesota must improve, expand and invest in early learning from preschool through 3rd grade to ensure that all children – especially Minnesotans of color and kids from low-income households – gain the skills they need to succeed.  Read More

Grades 4 through 8

Minnesota’s students in grades 4 through 8 need to reach grade-level proficiency with their coursework and stay on track in preparation for their next level of schooling and beyond. This need is especially acute for students of color and students from low-income families.  Read More

High school

Minnesota must engage all students throughout their high school years, offering them the rigorous coursework and social supports that will propel them through graduation and prepare them for higher education – especially students of color and students from low-income families.  Read More

The transition to higher education

Although Minnesota has high rates of educational attainment, the state needs to do more to increase student access to and success with college or other higher education options, especially for students of color and students from low-income families.  Read More

Achievement and attainment by Minnesotans of color

Minnesota must put into practice proven policies and strategies for increasing educational success by students of color if the state is to continue its lead in education and enjoy the economic payoffs. Unless inequities are addressed and graduation rates rise for Minnesotans of color, the state will likely see a decline in the share of students completing high school and the share of younger adults holding college degrees. Growth & Justice offers research-based, cost-effective approaches for improving educational outcomes along the continuum from birth and early childhood through high school and the transition to post-secondary education.  Read More

Whole towns coming together for all students

Historical precedent is strong in Minnesota for community involvement in educational success for all. Despite economic challenges and increasing racial diversity, evidence shows the effectiveness of community engagement and points to a revival in such activity across the nation. Many communities across Minnesota are coming together to plan for greater success for all students. Bolder and broader “cradle-to-career” strategies – comprehensive, data-driven plans that begin near birth and focus on improving measurable progress to career readiness – show the most promise for success.  Read More

Social-Psychological Interventions: Student-Centered Approaches to Raising Academic Achievement

The racial gaps in educational attainment and achievement in Minnesota are well documented. Minnesota's achievement gaps are among the largest in the nation. This challeng compels educators and policymakers to consider every promising strategy to reduce or eliminate gaps. One strategy that looks promising is a student-focused approach, using a seemingly small adjustment in the way teachers interact with their students. An intervention that utilized short writing exercises resulted in significantly higher grades by African American students, and a reduction of 40% in the racial achievement gap between African American and white students in one suburban middle classroom. Read more

Success stories

Growth & Justice is highlighting examples of school districts and regions that have demonstrated success in raising school performance among key groups of students to help move Minnesota beyond excuses for why gaps exist to evidence that they can and must be narrowed and closed.  Read More

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