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Not All MN Children Have Equal Opportunity to Thrive

PHOTO: A new scorecard on the progress of children by state shows a need in Minnesota to create more opportunity for kids of color. Photo credit: ShaLynn Wren
PHOTO: A new scorecard on the progress of children by state shows a need in Minnesota to create more opportunity for kids of color. Photo credit: ShaLynn Wren
April 1, 2014

ST. PAUL, Minn. - The face of Minnesota is rapidly changing, and for the state to thrive in the future, according to a new report, there's much ground to cover to ensure that all kids have equal opportunities for success, in school and in life. The analysis sheds light on the disparities experienced by children of color, said Stephanie Hogenson, outreach specialist at Children's Defense Fund-Minnesota.

"With growing populations of children of color in our state, now more than ever, we need to ensure that there are investments to level the playing field for all children in our state, to ensure they have the opportunities and access to services that ensure they succeed in early childhood, adolescence, and into adulthood," she declared.

Hogenson said the numbers of children and young adults of color in Minnesota are expected to double by the year 2040.

Since there is a steeper path to success for kids of color, she said, both public and private investments are needed, with a focus on family economic stability, health and quality early education.

Such investments are necessary "to ensure that children have the resources they need to do well in school, be reading by third grade and are succeeding at other educational standards and then, are able to go on to college to ensure they they are able to promote economic success for their families in the future," Hogenson stated.

Minnesota's demographic changes and barriers for children of color, are similar to the situation nationwide. That's why more effort is needed in all states, said Laura Speer, associate director at the Casey Foundation in charge of Kids Count projects.

"We think it's a really critical time for the country to focus on improving outcomes for these kids, since they really are going to be the future success of the country," Speer said.

The Census Bureau projects that by 2018, children of color will represent a majority of kids in the U.S. By 2030, a majority of the American labor force will be people of color.

The full report, "Race for Results: Building a Path to Opportunity for All Children" is at AECF.org.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - MN