Report details staggering reading gap among city’s third graders

Seventy-four percent of white third grade students enrolled in Minneapolis public and charter schools are proficient in reading compared to 23 percent of black and Hispanic students, according to a new city report.

Overall, about 47 percent of the city’s roughly 4,000 third grade students enrolled in Minneapolis public and charter schools are far from reading proficiency standards in 2015, according to the Results Minneapolis report presented to city leaders Wednesday morning as part of a new roundtable series tracking the city’s progress in a number of areas. It’s also a forum to discuss ways the city can have an impact on changing outcomes. 

The city cited statistics showing third graders who can’t read face an uphill battle. Three-quarters of third graders with poor reading skills will remain so in high school, and third graders who can’t read are four times less likely to graduate by age 19.

Housing stability also has a big impact on educational achievement. Only 13 percent of homeless third graders in the city have met reading proficiency standards this year.

Areas of concentrated poverty, low quality housing and high unemployment in North and South Minneapolis are home to many of the schools with low reading proficiency rates.

The roundtable also analyzed a report on infant mortality rates in the city showing that the city’s average infant mortality rate for black babies from 2011 to 2013 was 10.4 compared to 4.0 for white babies. The infant mortality rate is calculated by dividing the number of babies who die in a particular year by the number of babies born in that same year.

The highest number of infant deaths can be attributed to pre-conception health issues and stress exposures, according to the Results Minneapolis report.

For more information about the community indicators reports, go to http://minneapolismn.gov/coordinator/rm/Monitoring/CityGoalResultsMinneapolis/index.htm