New Partnership Seeks to Close Twin Cities’ Student Education Achievement Gap

MINNEAPOLIS – The Minneapolis/St. Paul region has one of the widest
student education achievement gaps in the nation, with unacceptably low graduation rates
among children of color and children from low-income households. To address this crisis, a
group of Twin Cities leaders from government, education, community and business have formed
the Generation Next Partnership, an unprecedented collaboration in the region.
The group’s executive director, Michael Goar, will be formally introduced to the Twin Cities
community at tonight’s event launching this public-private partnership. Goar is relocating to
Minneapolis from Boston, where he was deputy superintendent and chief operations officer of
Boston Public Schools. Goar, who is originally from Minneapolis, also has held leadership roles
in the Memphis and Minneapolis public school districts.
“This is not just another standalone program to fix education,” said Goar. “With Generation Next,
we finally have the advantage of critical mass: a cohesive group of committed leaders from
across the community, working together for the achievement of all students by focusing on best
practices that get results.”
Generation Next was inspired by the Cincinnati Strive Partnership, which has been replicated in
several communities, including Portland, San Francisco, Boston, Houston and Milwaukee. The
Strive Partnership unites stakeholders around educational issues, goals, measurements and
results, and then actively supports and strengthens strategies that work.
The Twin Cities partnership started with the African American Leadership Forum and the
University of Minnesota, which both identified the Strive model as a potential way to
systemically improve student achievement. They jointly sponsored community discussions,
engaging a broad cross section of educational, philanthropic, community and business
stakeholders, which culminated with tonight’s formal launch of Generation Next.
“The Generation Next Partnership will create a shared community vision to identify and
implement the most successful practices in closing achievement gaps,” said Kim Nelson, who is
senior vice president of external relations at General Mills and president of the General Mills
Foundation. She co-chairs the Generation Next Leadership Council with University of Minnesota
President Dr. Eric Kaler. New Partnership Seeks to Close Twin Cities’ Student Education Achievement Gap
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Generation Next is based on a holistic cradle-to-career framework for change. This framework
focuses on the full educational continuum – including critical transition points – to ensure the
developmental progress of students.
Generation Next will seek to align strategies and resources around five key goals, ensuring that
every student in Minneapolis and St. Paul has an equal opportunity to:
 Enter kindergarten ready to succeed.
 Achieve third-grade reading benchmarks.
 Achieve eighth-grade math benchmarks.
 Graduate on time from high school.
 Obtain a post-secondary degree or certificate within six years of graduation.
The Partnership will form networks of education experts and providers to advance these goals.
The networks will identify high-impact programs, determine the benchmarks and metrics to
measure success, and create a continuous improvement model.
Launch Event
The Generation Next launch event will be held tonight from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the University of
Minnesota’s McNamara Alumni Center. Partnership co-chairs Kaler and Nelson – along with
other Twin Cities education, business and community leaders – will introduce the new
organization to the community. The event will feature an appearance by Breaking Ice, a Twin
Cities acting troupe, who will dramatize the changes needed to narrow the achievement gap.
Greater Twin Cities United Way is serving as the anchor organization housing the Generation
Next initiative and providing it with start-up support. The Wilder Foundation is providing
expertise and support around data and measurement. The Minnesota Minority Education
Partnership will provide community engagement support.
In addition, Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, will
formally announce that the Generation Next Partnership will be awarded a $2 million federal
grant over two years from the Social Innovation Fund (SIF). These SIF funds will be matched by
local organizations creating a $4 million pool, and granted to community programs that support
the Generation Next goals.
“Although the Partnership is more about effective use of existing resources, we are thrilled to
have these funds to serve as a catalyst to jump start the Partnership’s efforts,” said Goar.
Learn more about Generation Next at: (website live at noon, Nov. 29).
About the Generation Next Partnership
The mission of Generation Next Partnership is to dramatically accelerate the educational
achievement of all children from early childhood through early career, through an aligned New Partnership Seeks to Close Twin Cities’ Student Education Achievement Gap
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partnership of community stakeholders in the Twin Cities region. By identifying and adopting
best practices, Generation Next will help to ensure a more successful and prosperous future for
the entire community.

SIF 2015