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ENEWS: Blueprint in Olivia, Inclusiveness Rankings, the Larger Higher-Ed Scandal

Date Published: 04/01/2019

Author: Dane Smith

First Equity Blueprint Rollout April 26, in Olivia

Mark your calendars and SAVE THE DATE!  The first section of the Minnesota Equity Blueprint – with special focus on how Minnesota communities can invest more equitably in our “Human Capital”   - will be released on April 26, 2019,  from 9 to 11 AM at Master's Coffee Shop in Olivia, MN.   Join us for a southwestern Minnesota focused event, with local and regional highlights from the Olivia Main Street Program, the Grow Our Own project of the Southwest Initiative Foundation, and others.  The Olivia event will be the first of five rollouts in 2019, with Economic Development, Infrastructure, Climate Action & Natural Resources, and Democracy to follow in other locations across Minnesota. RSVP via Eventbrite

MSP Lags on Inclusive Growth

Minnesota’s worrisome disparities _ by race, by region and by economic strata _ are a primary motivation for our work at Growth & Justice.   Our guiding belief is that greater inclusivity and reducing these disparities will create a healthier society and more sustainable economic growth.  A recent national study by the Brookings Institution – which compares progress by the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas over the last 10 years on measures of inclusive prosperity – provides further confirmation that we have plenty of work ahead.   While our national ranking on overall economic progress  over the last decade is respectable  (ranking 27th  out of 100 metro areas on “Growth”  and 35th on “Prosperity”), the rankings for progress  on “Inclusion” (44th) and “Inclusion by Race” (48th) lag behind.   We can take heart over some specific improvements, such as ranking 18th in closing the employment gap for people of color over the last decade.  We know our total wealth and health grows when all our diverse population, including all parts of Greater Minnesota, realize their fuller potential.  To learn much more about the Brookings report and the dynamics of inclusion as a growth driver, Growth & Justice staff will be attending the 2019 Powering Inclusion Summit, in Minneapolis on April 30.   

The Larger College Scandal

An upside to the national college admissions bribery scandal  has been an explosion of data and analysis showing how a more systematic unfairness actually compounds racial and economic disadvantage, from birth through college.   One of the better expositions of the problem is a detailed New York Times feature article headlined, “Who Gets to Graduate?”  The article included data and a chart from a study by acclaimed higher-ed expert Anthony Carnevale, of Georgetown University.   That research  shows that even among students with similarly high SAT scores, low-income students graduate from four-year colleges at half the rate (44 percent to 82 percent) of high-income students.  Among those with low SAT scores, the gap is even larger.  Slightly more than half (52 percent)  of high-income students with low SAT scores still graduate from college, compared to only about 8 percent of low-income students with low SAT scores.   The article also provides inspiring examples of highly selective colleges (focusing on a young black woman at the University of Texas at Austin) finding new ways to help talented low-income students gain admission and navigate through the many barriers toward graduation.


If you compare college students with the same standardized-test scores who come from different family backgrounds, you find that their educational outcomes reflect their parents’ income, not their test scores…Beyond the economic opportunities for the students themselves, there is the broader cost of letting so many promising students drop out, of losing so much valuable human capital.” – From NYTimes article, cited above.

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