Coalition aims to close achievement gap

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December 17, 2012 // UPDATED 3:28 pm - December 29, 2012
By: Ben Johnson
Ben Johnson

The Generation Next Partnership launched on Nov. 29 unites a broad array of local organizations around one goal: eliminating the achievement and graduation gaps in Twin Cities schools.

The public-private coalition includes leaders from area businesses, philanthropic organizations, government, K–12 schools and higher education and promotes a “cradle-to-career” strategy for ensuring local students are prepared for school, graduate on time and move on to college and careers.

The model is based on the Cincinnati Strive Partnership, where a similar collaboration has made progress in boosting kindergarten readiness, improving student reading and math scores and raising retention and graduation rates in area colleges and universities. Cities around the country, including Boston, San Francisco and Portland, Ore., are following Cincinnati’s lead.

The Generation Next Partnership set five goals and aims to eliminate in each area the gaps that have students of color lagging behind their white peers. Those goals are: making sure each child is prepared for kindergarten; meeting third-grade reading benchmarks; meeting eighth-grade math benchmarks; achieving a four-year graduation rate of 100 percent; and ensuring every high school graduate earns a college diploma or post-secondary certificate within six years.

The partnership launched with a two-year, $2-million federal Social Innovation Fund Grant, funds that will be matched by the partner organizations to raise $4 million.

The partnership’s leadership council is co-chaired by University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler and General Mills Foundation President Kim Nelson. To learn more about the partnership, go to