(Summary of Smith, D. (2015, August 4). Learning is a local thing, as Minnesota initiatives show. Star Tribune (http://tinyw.in/K1Nd) and a Star Tribune 9/3/15 editorial “Answer Generation Next’s Call for More Volunteer Tutors to Help Students Read” (http://tinyw.in/QPSO).
Community partnership programs in Minnesota, with the support of $6 million from the state legislature, are addressing the need for organizing overall community involvement to foster success for low-income students, who, as Robert Putnam posits in Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis, are increasingly marginalized and neglected in society. A primary program is Generation Next (http://www.gennextmsp.org), that supports work in two urban neighborhoods in Minneapolis and St. Paul to support kindergarten readiness, success in reading by the end of 3rd grade, high school graduation, and earning a post-secondary degree or certification for low-income students of color.
This project is similar to a larger network of partnership projects, the Known as the Strive Partnership (http://www.strivetogether.org), which, in Cincinnati, has been credited with improving public school high school graduation rates from 50 to 80 percent in the last decade. Given that only 41.9% of students in Minneapolis and 37.7% of students in St. Paul score at the proficient level in reading, Generation Next is seeking 1,000 volunteers to devoted one hour a week to assist elementary-age kids with literacy learning. Other Minnesota partnerships include: Austin Aspires (Austin), the Itasca Area Initiative for Student Success (Grand Rapids and surrounding north-central communities), Partner for Student Success (St. Cloud), Every Hand Joined (Red Wing), and Northfield Promise (Northfield).