Star Tribune: State integration task force adopts plan to close achievement gap

Kim McGuire writes in the Star Tribune: “State integration task force adopts plan to close achievement gap.

For almost a year, the task force has been wrestling over the question of whether the funds should be used to combat segregation, or, as GOP members of the Legislature have argued, use the money for literacy programs and other efforts to narrow the state’s achievement gap between white and nonwhite students.

In the end, the task force gave a nod to both, calling for the creation of a program called Achievement & Integration for Minnesota (AIM), responsible for coming up with a new integration rule that prohibits school segregation. Among other things, AIM revenue should be pumped into programs such as full-day kindergarten for low-income families and Advancement Via Individual Determination, a college preparation effort, according to the task force recommendations.

Aside from the obvious error that the task force has only had two months to do its work, not “almost a year,” the article does a decent job of summing up the conclusion. The article ends with a statement that, “At this stage in the debate, metro school officials were relieved to know that the task force supports the program’s continued funding.”

Certainly. But what really matters is now the Legislature takes up this issue. Most don’t expect it to squeeze its way onto this session’s agenda, so all eyes now turn to the election of all members of the Minnesota House and Senate, some in districts with new boundaries.