Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges and St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman said they plan to focus on early childhood development as a way to improve education in minority communities.
The mayors joined The Daily Circuit Tuesday to discuss their plans for the new term.
By age 3, a poor child will have heard 30 million fewer words than a child from a more wealthy family, research shows. Coleman said that "word gap" causes problems that can continue throughout that child's education.
"So that when they get to kindergarten, their vocabulary skills are so weak that for the rest of that child's education, it seems like you're doing remedial work for what happened in the first couple of years of a child's life," he said.
Coleman said the answer can be as simple as reminding expectant mothers to read to their children. Hodges agrees. She wants to expand a city program called Healthy Starts.
"Which are visits with pregnant moms that continue with those families for the first couple years of life to really make sure that kids are getting that start," she said.
Hodges and Coleman also discussed pledges to reduce racial disparities in the Twin Cities.
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE MAYORS:
• Hodges pushes for transit at business breakfast (Star Tribune)