Mind the Achievement Gap


CSMN Podcast Logo

In this episode, Jason and Andrew address the “mysterious” achievement gap in our public school system. Is the achievement gap real, perceived, or manufactured? How can it best be measured? Is every child created the same? It is the go-to issue that our schools claim is holding back minorities and children raised in poverty. Is our current system of educating best serving our children or the public appearance of the school districts that claim to serve them? How much is actually aimed at helping our students verses some sort of territoriality to keep alternate forms of education in the shadows? For a group of folks that say they hate monopolies, their monopoly is among the most fierce. So what do we do? How do we better equip our kids to succeed, because the system most of them are in now is failing them. It’s antiquated and has no real answers other than raising more money, of which untold amounts go into facilities, pensions, and programs that don’t seem to provide any results. There has to be a better way. Join the conversation, and let’s give them a solution to make the future as bright as possible for our children.

Have you checked out our Spotify playlist? At the beginning of each episode Jason quotes some song lyrics that have to do with the subject matter of the podcast. Andrew never knows what they are, but now he can… and so can you! We just launched the Spotify playlist: “Community Solutions Music From the Podcast“! You can listen to Roundabout from Yes after listing to Episode 30 on Roundabouts… or kick back and enjoy a rocking playlist just for the thrill of it. We add a new song every week. Subscribe and enjoy!

Don’t forget that you can also subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Google Play, and Spotify, or go out to the PodBabble Podcast Network!

Advertisements

April 18, 2018 at 10:05 am Leave a comment

Home Sweet Home


CSMN Podcast Logo

In this week’s episode, Jason and Andrew interview Tom Slupske from RE/MAX Results and Kim Edwards from CorTrust Bank. We’ve long contended that Crystal is one of the best cities in the metro to live in. It’s current city council has made life in the city more enjoyable for its residents, removed unnecessary regulations, and become more business friendly. Our guests have taken a liking to it as well. That is why they are hosting the inaugural Home, Life, and Family Expo in Crystal, MN on April 28th at the Crystal Community Center from 9am to 3pm. Why does this podcast apply to you? Well, the most obvious reasons are that you might be looking or know someone that is looking to buy an affordable home, close to the city, but with a small town/suburban feel. Another reason is that you’ve thought about purchasing a home, but don’t know where to start. Or… you don’t know how the MN Housing Finance Agency might be able to help you. These guys have some ambitious goals, and this expo is just the first step. So listen in. The information alone is well worth it.

Have you checked out our Spotify playlist? At the beginning of each episode Jason quotes some song lyrics that have to do with the subject matter of the podcast. Andrew never knows what they are, but now he can… and so can you! We just launched the Spotify playlist: “Community Solutions Music From the Podcast“! You can listen to Roundabout from Yes after listing to Episode 30 on Roundabouts… or kick back and enjoy a rocking playlist just for the thrill of it. We add a new song every week. Subscribe and enjoy!

Don’t forget that you can also subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Google Play, and Spotify, or go out to the PodBabble Podcast Network!

April 11, 2018 at 10:57 am Leave a comment

Local or State Control?


CSMN Podcast Logo

This week Jason and Andrew discuss some of the issues that both local and state government seem to be fighting over lately. In some instances, its a race to the bottom, and in other cases the state oversteps its bounds in putting regulations upon local entities. We talk about gun-free zones, school suspension/expulsion policies, Tobacco 21, and the looming omnibus bonding bill that funds a ton of local and regional projects that have no statewide implications.

Should these issues come from the state or be decided locally?  How much local control is gladly ceded for grant money, or being able to push the blame of failure on someone else?

Have you checked out our new Spotify playlist? At the beginning of each episode Jason quotes some song lyrics that have to do with the subject matter of the podcast. Andrew never knows what they are, but now he can… and so can you! We just launched the Spotify playlist: “Community Solutions Music From the Podcast“! You can listen to Roundabout from Yes after listing to Episode 30 on Roundabouts… or kick back and enjoy a rocking playlist just for the thrill of it. We add a new song every week. Subscribe and enjoy!

Don’t forget that you can also subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Google Play, and Spotify, or go out to the PodBabble Podcast Network!

April 4, 2018 at 11:02 am Leave a comment

A Little Fuzzy Math


By Andrew Richter

OK my friends I’m sure you’ve heard of the “education achievement gap” of white students and students of color here in Minnesota. Well you’ll be glad to know how much “progress” we’ve made in closing that the past five years…..

The Robbinsdale Area School District is closing several achievement gaps between white and non-white students, although significant disparities still linger, according to data from 2012-2017 released by the state Department of Education

In February, the state released the 2017 graduation statistics for all of the state’s districts, adding to the data for the past five years. The statistics track graduation rates among students by demographic, highlighting racial or socioeconomic disparities among graduation-eligible students and illustrating, in many cases, a trend toward closing gaps in achievement.

As a whole, the state has made progress in reducing disparities. The statewide gap between white and non-white students has shrunk from 26.5 percent to 18.7 percent. Graduation rates among non-white students, including black, Hispanic, Asian, Pacific Islander/Hawaiian native, and American Indian/Alaskan Native demographics, have increased by 11 percentage points in the five-year period. Graduation rates of white students have increased slightly, with a 3.3 percent jump.

Ok now I’m not sure graduation rates are the best way to measure education success but let’s see how much progress we’ve really made; it’s 7.8% over five years. That’s nothing to get too excited about.

Gov. Mark Dayton issued a statement Feb. 27 about the statistics, in which he calls for more efforts to further reduce the achievement gap.

“Despite this progress, unacceptable disparities persist among students of color in our schools. These gaps underscore the need for continued improvements in early education, K-12, and higher education systems to eliminate disparities and ensure better educational opportunities for all Minnesotans,” said Dayton.

Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius echoed Dayton’s sentiment in a separate statement.

“While our graduation rates have continued to climb and gaps are narrowing, we have too many students who are not receiving a diploma,” said Cassellius. “We have so much more work to do to ensure all children have equitable opportunities and receive the support they need in order to graduate on time and ready for life.”

Typical predictable statements. Let me translate; we need more money and lower class sizes.

In 2015, the Obama Administration signed the Every Student Succeeds Act into law, an update to its predecessor, No Child Left Behind. The newer law is built on recent historically high graduation rates and historically low rates of dropouts.

Robbinsdale Area Schools

While the Robbinsdale district as a whole ranks just below the state’s four-year graduation rate averages, including slightly lower graduation numbers and a slightly higher dropout rate among all students, several specific demographics had rates higher than the state averages within that same demographic.

The graduation achievement of black and African American students, who account for 30 percent of the district’s graduation-eligible student body, increased by a small margin, rising from around 68 percent to 70 percent over the five-year period. Comparatively, the overall state graduation average for black students rose from around 58 percent to nearly 65 percent between 2012 and 2017.

White students, who comprise 40 percent of the Robbinsdale graduation-eligible student body, saw a very small jump in rates of graduation after four years of slight decline, and the district’s 87-percent graduation rate is lower than the state’s graduation average for white students.

Statewide, graduation rates among white students rose from 86 to 88 percent over the five years measured, representing a gap of over 23 percent between white and black or African American students.

Did you follow all those numbers? The “gap” in graduation rates has shrunk from 28 to 23 over five years. That’s 1% a year. If the GDP was growing at 1% a year would that be a success?

A similarly significant gap in dropout rates and students continuing beyond the standard four-year graduation model exists between white and black students. While white students had a dropout rate of around 3 percent in 2017, the dropout rate for black and African American students was more than 10 percent. However, the numbers for students who continued beyond the four-year model were more similar, with 16 percent of black students and 8.5 percent of white students continuing their high school education another year.

Hispanic and Latino students, who comprise 15 percent of students eligible for graduation in the district, saw graduation numbers jump from 60 percent to 69 percent, slightly above the statewide Hispanic/Latino rates of graduation. This demographic also had a smaller percentage of students dropping out during the 2016-2017 school year than the statewide average.

Asian students account for just 7 percent of the graduation-level students, but in 2017 had the highest rate of graduation in the district at 89.5 percent, as well as the lowest dropout rate at 2.6 percent.

Students who are two or more races had one of the largest growth spurts in number, both in Robbinsdale schools and around the state. Statewide between 2013 and 2017, the number of students registered as two or more races grew from 751 to 1,300. In Robbinsdale schools, that number jumped from 18 to 33. The graduation rates for students of two or more races also grew by the widest margin in the district, from 62 percent to 75 percent in the five-year period. However, the demographic continues to have the highest rate of dropping out at around 11.5 percent.

Statistics by school also displayed a small gap. Robbinsdale Armstrong High School had an overall graduation rate of 89.5, up over three points from 2012, and Cooper High School had a rate of about 84 percent, also representing a three-point gain since 2012. Cooper’s dropout rate is of nearly 7.5 percent, while Armstrong displayed a dropout rate of just over 3 percent.

While overall graduation numbers were slightly lower at Cooper than at Armstrong, black students at Cooper had the higher graduation rate at 85 percent, compared to Armstrong’s 76.5 percent. White students at Armstrong had a graduation rate of nearly 93 percent, while that number was just over 86 percent at Cooper.

Hispanic students at Armstrong and Cooper have one of the most significant gaps, with only about 67 percent graduating from Cooper, contrasted with Armstrong’s rate of 90.5 percent. No Hispanic students at Armstrong dropped out in 2017, while five students at Cooper, representing nearly 14 percent of the school’s Hispanic senior class, dropped out in 2017.

Socioeconomic status also plays a role in graduation rates. Between 2013 and 2017, the number of graduates who qualified for free or reduced lunches rose from nearly 69 percent to 72 percent. Statewide, the graduation rate for students eligible for free and reduced lunches increased over the five-year period by nearly 3.5 percentage points.

Yes poor kids are dumber….the classic public school way of lowering expectations.

To contrast, within the district, students not eligible for free or reduced lunches had a nearly 80 percent graduation rate in 2017, and statewide that number was at nearly 83 percent.

Equity is one of the district’s primary stated focuses with its Unified District Vision plan having been adopted to close achievement gaps and break down remaining barriers.

During a state of the district speech in March 2017, Superintendent Carlton Jenkins said the district is working toward closing achievement gaps and creating equity, citing preparedness beginning as early as kindergarten and collaborations with the business community.

“Our district cannot complete its biological transformation until all students receive the benefits of our most rigorous academic offerings with a comprehensive experience, allowing their interests to be explored,” Jenkins had said during the speech.

What? Biological transformation?

Over the past couple of years, the district also began participating in World Cafe sessions, which bring together multiple other districts to discuss ways to create more equitable schools and build are toward goals laid out by the Unified District Vision.

Unified District Vision? How much $$ did that take to put together?

article

March 28, 2018 at 3:16 pm Leave a comment

A Global Covenant of Mayors?


CSMN Podcast Logo

In this episode, Jason and Andrew alert you to the recent IPCC Cities and Climate Change Science Conference, put on by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the invitation-only Mayor’s Summit, put on by the Global Covenant of Mayors. This event hosted mayors, city staff members, special interests, and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s) from all over the world. They all descended on Edmonton, Alberta in March of 2018 to talk about the very thing we have been telling you is coming our way. With the inability of these groups to get legislation passed at the national or state level, they are going directly to the local level (cities and counties) to implement their unpopular legislation. These groups are well connected and well funded. We can’t just ignore them and hope they will go away. They will not stop until they have forced us into a future not unlike the novels “1985” or “A Brave New World”. They want a world where mobility is mostly limited to public transit and self-propelled transportation, carbon taxes regulate our behavior, and we live in mid-to-high density clusters. If you think we’re over-exaggerating, you can read their own words on their own websites. You can read their tweets. It’s all out in the open. So listen in and make sure your community isn’t beginning to move in this direction.

Have you checked out our new Spotify playlist? At the beginning of each episode Jason quotes some song lyrics that have to do with the subject matter of the podcast. Andrew never knows what they are, but now he can… and so can you! We just launched the Spotify playlist: “Community Solutions Music From the Podcast“! You can listen to Roundabout from Yes after listing to Episode 30 on Roundabouts… or kick back and enjoy a rocking playlist just for the thrill of it. We add a new song every week. Subscribe and enjoy!

Don’t forget that you can also subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Google Play, and Spotify, or go out to the PodBabble Podcast Network!

March 28, 2018 at 10:07 am Leave a comment

It is a Conspiracy!


CSMN Podcast Logo

In this episode of the Community Solutions Podcast, Jason and Andrew delve into the topic of government conspiracies. How do they happen? Is there any truth to them? What can governments do differently to help prevent rumors and conspiracies from forming? We pick two popular conspiracies (the moon landing and JFK), tear them apart, and try to figure out why they remain mysteries to this day. We’d love to hear your take in the comments below. It’s all in fun this week, so please share!

Have you checked out our new Spotify playlist? At the beginning of each episode Jason quotes some song lyrics that have to do with the subject matter of the podcast. Andrew never knows what they are, but now he can… and so can you! We just launched the Spotify playlist: “Community Solutions Music From the Podcast“! You can listen to Roundabout from Yes after listing to Episode 30 on Roundabouts… or kick back and enjoy a rocking playlist just for the thrill of it. We add a new song every week. Subscribe and enjoy!

Don’t forget that you can also subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Google Play, and Spotify, or go out to the PodBabble Podcast Network!

March 21, 2018 at 10:31 am Leave a comment

Community Solutions Podcast- The Gateway Corridor


CSMN Podcast Logo

Jason and Andrew discuss the Gateway Corridor (or Gold Line) project along I-94, from St. Paul to Woodbury. Again, we see the same things proposed as the Blue Line Extension and Southwest Line: catering to big business, a huge price tag, Transit-Oriented Development (TOD)… and they are full steam ahead, no matter what the residents have to say. They have opted to use Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) over Light Rail Transit (LRT), but the tax bill will still be huge. Whether this is the right option for the right place or not, you need to see that these projects have to have the same things incorporated as the other lines. This is to meet the qualifications for Federal grant money. So if you hear about an upcoming transit corridor for your area, you had better pay attention! Even more so, search out their plans early in order to have a voice in the conversation.

Have you checked out our new Spotify playlist? At the beginning of each episode Jason quotes some song lyrics that have to do with the subject matter of the podcast. Andrew never knows what they are, but now he can… and so can you! We just launched the Spotify playlist: “Community Solutions Music From the Podcast“! You can listen to Roundabout from Yes after listing to Episode 30 on Roundabouts… or kick back and enjoy a rocking playlist just for the thrill of it. We add a new song every week. Subscribe and enjoy!

Don’t forget that you can also subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Google Play, and Spotify, or go out to the PodBabble Podcast Network!

March 14, 2018 at 11:37 am Leave a comment

Older Posts


Twitter Updates

Archives