opportunity gap

By Ambar Cristina Hanson

The Minnesota Education Equity Partnership recently released its 2016 State of Students of Color and American Indian Students Report. The report is a comprehensive piece of work that examines the historical context that has led to an educational opportunity gap for so many in our communities. The report gives us data, tools and recommendations of how to address the current state of affairs.

Whether you are seeking to familiarize yourself with the definitions of concepts such as ‘color-blind racism’ or ‘critical consciousness,’ learn about the historical context that has led to the opportunity gaps that exist today, or examine statewide data on proficiency based on the MCA results, this is a great resource.

As I read through the report I was proud to learn that while as a network we have a long way to go, we are ahead of the game when it comes to our commitment to have all children succeed. Our mission, vision and priorities align with the recommendations of the report. As we explore the future of our schools for the next five years through Redefining Possible, we have the opportunity to disrupt the status quo through transformative and lasting change that will make our city a thriving and healthy community for everyone.

Some examples of our commitment include:

  • Listen to families and find better ways to become more relevant to the communities we serve
  • Have conversations about equity and what that means in order to create change
  • Have high expectations of scholars and different academic outcomes
  • Focus on the strengths and assets that families bring

The report also highlights many ideas for us to consider applying to our daily work – whether we are a leader in a classroom, the office, or in another supporting capacity. I hope you find the time to read this report, and I invite you all to have a conversation about the critical questions it poses in the weeks to come. We are stronger together, and it is great to be a part of a team that has the will to create change for our communities.

“I have come to understand that the reason some schools succeed in closing or at least reducing the racial disparities in achievement while the overwhelming majority fail has less to do with skill than with will.”

-Dr. Pedro Noguera