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Really, Mr. President?

When only 22% of Black students are reading at grade level, you shouldn’t be sending congratulations.
1 ¾ min

Yesterday, Minneapolis Public Schools proudly shared a letter of congratulations from President Obama. Here’s the post: 

Here’s the letter: 

Assuming the letter is real, the President really ought to have had his team check out the school district before sending a letter of congratulations to the interim superintendent.

We certainly agree that "Our Nation's future depends on the quality of the education we provide to the next generation." But we question whether or not Mr. Goar should "take pride" in what's happening in Minneapolis. If you think that's too harsh, consider the statistics below.

In Minneapolis Public Schools, the only students who are showing decent reading abilities on the whole are White students. Yet, despite white students' significantly higher levels of reading proficiency, district-wide only 42% of all students are reading at grade-level. Less than 25% of Hispanic, Black, and Native American students are reading at grade-level.

Given the issues of race that have rocked the nation recently, we thought it would be worth drilling down a bit more into how Black students, particularly, are doing in Minneapolis. Simply put, not good. When the last Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA) is given in 10th grade, only 16% of Black students are reading at or above a 10th-grade level. 

It gets even worse for Black males. 

All of that is happening in a district that spends over $21,000 per student with over 34,000 students, 37% of whom are Black. While there might be a success here or there to celebrate, on the whole there is nothing worthy of the President’s congratulations.

Mr. President, if you had a son, would you send him to Minneapolis Public Schools?

Devin Foley

Devin Foley

Devin is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Charlemagne Institute, which operates Intellectual Takeout, Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture, and the Alcuin Internship. He is a graduate of Hillsdale College where he studied history and political science. Prior to co-founding Charlemagne Institute, he served as the Director of Development at the Center of the American Experiment, a state-based think tank in Minnesota.

Devin is a contributor to local and national newspapers, a frequent guest on a variety of talk shows, such as Minneapolis' KTLK and NPR's Talk of the Nation, and regularly shares culture and education insights presenting to civic groups, schools, and other organizations. In 2011, he was named a Young Leader by the American Swiss Foundation.

Devin and his wife have been married for eighteen years and have six children. When he's not working, Devin enjoys time with family while also relaxing through reading, horticulture, home projects, and skiing and snowboarding.

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