To shrink the achievement gap, we need to focus our efforts on the root cause, which is poverty. Poverty can be found in almost all education gaps, fix poverty, fix the gaps. Students in poverty are not going to see substantial changes in their lives, if we continue to focus only on activities within the school as a change agent. Improve their home life will lead to a home life more supportive of learning and achieving success
As a national leader on After School Policies, I will bring a different mindset to the challenges facing our youth. We need to focus on the root cause of the challenges, especially for our diverse communities where the education achievement gap in Minnesota is among the worst in the entire country. I am a founding Mayoral member of President Obama's Presidential Initiative My Brothers Keeper, as well active in the National League of Cities' Initiative Cities United. Both initiatives focus on eliminating gaps and challenges at all age levels for young boys of diverse backgrounds.
We need expand our community partnerships, and STOP the war on daycare providers. I have no idea what these hard working people did to the State Legislature, but most daycare providers are small business owners who care greatly for the children in their care. The continual stream of proposals and initiatives to effectively gut our daycare providers was misguided, shortsighted and a lack of focus on the real challenges.
A root cause approach to our Youth requires the following:
- Partnering with our community organizations and daycare providers to provide a complete day continuum of outreach to our youth, especially those following behind
- Expand After School grants and programs by working with local community groups, schools and cities to offer positive activities when school is not in session. We need to understand these needs exist in the suburbs and rural areas, not just the urban core.
- Focus our resources on at-risk students and families
- Tackle the root causes of the achievement gap, which revolve around poverty, if we can reduce the effects of poverty on a family & children, we will see improvements in other areas such as student performance & readiness
- Reform school funding formula so students are treated equally between the different districts.