Minnesota is at a turning point. Teach for America Twin Cities is working to create a new, more affordable pathway to teacher certification that will have a profound impact on the size and diversity of our teacher workforce. That means more passionate, qualified corps members and alumni working together in our effort to put 7,000 students per year from low-income areas on the pathway to college by 2022.
Minnesota is a unique, complicated place. You may know the clichés: Minnesota nice (think Marshall from How I Met Your Mother) or the thick Midwest accent popularized in the Cohen Brothers film Fargo. The Twin Cities are much more than a hockey-loving, Scandinavian hub in the Midwest. We are the North. We are the home of Prince and Bob Dylan; we are the inventors of sandpaper and bundt pans. The land of 10,000 lakes is a melting pot of cultures: we have the second largest Hmong population in the U.S., the only museum dedicated to Somali history and culture in the world, and the largest population of urban native students in the country.
We are a top 10 state in a variety of livability measures (according to U.S. News): healthcare, employment, and education. We rank seventh in the country for PreK through 12th grade education. That said, student achievement results indicate massive disparities in educational outcomes by race and class. While these rates have improved slightly over the past few years, Minnesota ranks in the bottom five states for four-year high school graduation for Black, Latinx, and American Indian students. Only 60 percent of Minnesota's students of color graduate—and of that group, only one-third go on to enroll in post-secondary institutions. Thirty percent of low-income background students and students of color enrolled in college have to take remedial coursework because they weren’t full prepared. These are the challenges that face our community.
We are working towards an equitable future for children in Minnesota. By partnering with others across our community, we are driving towards ensuring that every year 7,000 under-served students of color have educational opportunities that open the door to college and beyond. Our critical ingredient in that effort is leadership—in classrooms, at great schools, at the school district level, and from citizens and policymakers shaping the public discussion.