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Generation Next Announces Plan To Bridge Achievement Gap

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A group of Minnesotans say they have a new strategy to correct one of the state's biggest disparities.

According to Generation Next, four out of 10 students make it to graduation in the city of Minneapolis, seven out of 10 in St. Paul, Minn.

And statewide, the University of Minnesota reports math and reading scores are around 30 percent lower for black and Hispanic students than for white students.

Generation Next, headed by former Minneapolis mayor RT Ryback, says its pulled a detailed plan together.

"The parts of the populations that are growing the most are also the ones that are performing the least well. We don't have an option. We have to take this issue on," former mayor RT Rybak said.

The former mayor of Minneapolis is now championing a solution to the achievement gap.

"I do believe we are going to take a community with amazing capacity and focus it together," Rybak said.

In front of an overflowing room of educators and volunteers he announced a coalition of education groups, an announcement made at the University of Minnesota, followed by some words from a proud student, Husma Ibrahim.

"It gives people hope. Hope is life," Ibrahim said.

The Africa native says mentors steered her when she moved to the country in the 10th grade.

"They helped me believe in myself, and that's why I am here at the University of Minnesota," Ibrahim.

A story Generation Next hopes will be repeated with new strategies.

Strategies include learning screenings at age three to identify needs before kindergarten

They are also pushing getting students to reading level by the 3rd grade, and investing in mentor and tutor training.

They say there's living proof it works.

"I'm here. It's real. The dream is real," Ibrahim said.

Ibrahim is a biology major at the "U." She is considering med school next.

This training, screening, mentoring take money.

Target, 3M are amongst a few helping out.

But they say to put this into play they'll also need volunteers,to see one of the programs supporting volunteers, click here.

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