Minneapolis school board adopts plan to fight achievement gap

The Minneapolis school board approved a plan Tuesday night aimed at erasing the district's achievement gap by the end of the decade.

Previously: Ambitious plan addresses seemingly intractable challenge
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But the board's go-ahead only covers the wider framework of the effort. District officials will sort out implementation details in the coming months.

Board member Tracine Asberry abstained from voting on the measure, and said she was worried it will end up like past efforts that haven't improved student achievement.

"There is an urgency. But I want to know when the board, the community, will actually see it? I will tell you quite frankly, I am exhausted,"she said. "I am exhausted about presentations and promises and conversations."

The effort seeks to improve math and reading proficiency rates for students of color by 8 percentage points annually. The aim is to make up a nearly 50 percentage point gap compared to white students by the year 2020.

The plan also calls on the district to erase the racial disparity in suspensions between white students and students of color.

And it also proposes to increase the efficiency of the districts teachers and principals.

The district's chief academic officer, Susanne Griffin, told board members the plan focuses on a few key areas, including raising the test scores of students of color, and increasing the graduation rate for the entire district.

"There are a lot of good things out there," she said. "We can't do all the good things out there. We just can't. We need to do the right good things for the students and parents we have here in Minneapolis right now."

A big part of the proposal is giving schools more freedom to make hiring, budget and curriculum decisions.

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