Students and educators work together for progress at the Capitol

Dual credit was a popular education topic in this year’s session, for both K12 and higher education. Encouraged by both educators and students, such as Chala Tafesa, the Minnesota Legislature made significant positive changes to dual credit. Dual credit refers to programs where high school students can take college-level courses for free, earning credit for both high school and college. It is a great way to help students be motivated to finish high school, be better prepared for postsecondary, and to save precious tuition dollars and time. More info on dual credit and research available here. Continue Reading

COMMUNITY VOICES | Data shows that career and tech ed is a gap-closing strategy

One of Minnesota’s best achievement gap reduction strategies is being woefully under-utilized.Recently, Michael Diedrich of MN2020 wrote about a school that was working to revamp their career and technical education (CTE) programs. Although CTE (think vo-tech) has a murky history, he correctly pointed out that courses today go way beyond the traditional woodworking and auto mechanics classes.I thanked Diedrich for bringing attention to this issue. I think CTE is an important, although not singular, gap-closing tool and should be more seriously considered by the education community (meaning all stakeholders).I use the term ‘gap-closing’ with data in mind. There is a succinct, one page report from the MN Department of Education that gives some powerful data about the graduation rates between student groups for those who have taken 2-3 courses in CTE. One example from the report is that the 2013 statewide ‘CTE’ grad rate for American Indian students is about 75%, compared to 45.5% for the 2012 overall 4-year grad rate. That is a 30-point improvement. Continue Reading