Students start to leave city

Because of repeated failures to improve graduation rates, students migrate away.

Jared Rogers-Martin

With the seasons changing, birds and other migratory animals slowly return to their luscious lakefront properties in Minneapolis. However, one type of animal is demonstrating its choice not to return to our city. That animal is the human child enrolled in the Minneapolis School District.

In the last five years, more than 17,000 children have left the city’s school district to enroll in suburban schools and other charter schools. Schools in Columbia Heights opened their doors to 570 Minneapolis students last year, and Robbinsdale accepted another 1,000.

Our fledgling students seem to prefer the education climate a little farther out from the city. There, graduation rates are higher than those of the Minneapolis district, whose rates are about 50 percent.

One could say the Minneapolis school board is in the midst of a chicken dance to fix this problem. It announced layoffs for 160 employees at its central office. The $11.6 million saved from these layoffs will immediately transfer to individual schools so they can hire about 350 new teachers before the next school year begins.

The largest city in Minnesota is chronically failing to meet its commitment to provide its residents with worthwhile education.

Our city’s problem with income disparity is already an embarrassment on a national stage. One can only assume that it stems from our inability to provide our youngest residents with the skills they need to succeed before they leave the nest and join the workforce.