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REPORT ON EDUCATIONAL STATUS OF CHILDREN OF COLOR A 'WAKE-UP CALL' TO THE TWIN CITIES

 MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL, March 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Community-based education programs in the Twin Cities are working overtime -- with few resources -- to help a generation of children of color who are being left behind in increasing numbers by the public school system, according to a new report released today.
 "This is a wake-up call to people who believe that public education in Minnesota works for all children. But this report shows that the public education system still filters out our children, and that we are, in fact, in danger of losing an entire generation," said Elaine Salinas, one the researchers from within four communities of color who developed the report.
 The number of students of color has grown rapidly in both school districts in recent years, increasing by nearly 50 percent between 1985 and 1991. "Minneapolis and St. Paul public schools have not kept pace with the growing numbers and changing demographics, nor have they changed pedagogically to reflect the unique experiences or histories of people of color," Salinas said. "As a result, community-based organizations have implemented education programs that are buttressing the gap and making a significant difference in the lives of students of color in Minneapolis and St. Paul."
 Funded by The St. Paul Companies, Inc., the report is the first of its kind to be developed and conducted by members from within the Asian, American Indian, African-American or Chicano/Latino communities. Researchers identified and surveyed 68 community programs that are effectively reaching children of color, according to parents and students surveyed. Said Salinas, "We spent hours in our communities, talking to parents, children and the people who are working in these community-based programs. These community-based educational organizations are truly saving the lives of our kids ... with minimal resources ... but with care, nurture and support to our children. They -- and not the statistics -- reflect the strength of our communities, and the true potential of our children."
 The report examined educational success, as measured by achievement test scores, dropout rates, graduation rates and suspension rates. Specifically, baseline data collected from the Minneapolis and St. Paul public schools for the period 1985-91 shows that:
 -- By the 1991-92 school year, students of color accounted for 54 percent of enrollment in the Minneapolis Public Schools and 45 percent in the St. Paul Public Schools. African American students in Minneapolis increased by more than 4,000 and Asian students in St. Paul increased by nearly that amount.
 -- High school students from each community of color except the Asian community are far more likely to drop out of school than are white students. About one of every four American Indian high school students drops out of school each year, as does about one of every five African American students.
 -- The average test scores of students of color on benchmark and other tests have been considerably lower than those of their white peers. The only exception was scores achieved by Asian students in Minneapolis. These results, however, are misleading because large numbers of Southeast Asian refugee students are not tested in Minneapolis.
 -- Students of color represented more than two-thirds of all students suspended from the Minneapolis Public Schools; comparable St. Paul data is not available. African American students are three times more likely to be suspended, while American Indian students are twice as likely as whites to be suspended.
 -- In 1989-90, only 70 percent of African American and 51 percent of American Indian students enrolled in the 12th grade at the beginning of the year in Minneapolis actually graduated with their class the following June.
 "These statistics are grim indeed, but we believe that they do not accurately reflects either our children, or the strength of our community," Salinas stated. "These new students of color bring greater diversity to the classroom. Students of color now represent the majority of students in the Minneapolis Public Schools and will soon represent the majority in St. Paul."
 The answer, she argued, does not lie with current multicultural education programs. "As a team, we feel strongly that multicultural education as an add-on to the existing curriculum is an ineffective model. The real solution lies in finding new approaches for public schools that equally reflect the culture and experience of all children. These 68 mostly overlooked community-based organizations are a wonderful resource for educators as together, we seek new models of how to narrow the gap between students of color and white students in our school systems."
 Together with Salinas, who worked within the American Indian community, the following educators conducted the research for "Children of Color:" Josie Johnson, Ed.D. and Robert Crumpton, Ph.D., African- American community; Narciso L. Aleman, Chicano/Latino community; and Jean Kiernan, in collaboration with Tuan Bui, Tonnara Hing, Toua Vang, Asian community.
 The report includes six recommendations, including creating partnerships between community-based education and public schools; and allocating greater foundation and corporate resources to community-based education organizations.
 Researchers surveyed three types of community-based education programs: supplemental programs that supplement or strengthen the academic training provided in public schools; alternative schools which serve those students who've dropped out or those who are experiencing severe difficulty with public schools; and cultural emphasis programs that promote the culture and history of their community. These 68 organizations are highlighted in a directory, "Communities of Color," which is being published in connection with the report.
 Both the report and directory may be obtained by contacting Communities of Color, 1821 University Avenue, Suite 162S, St. Paul, Minn., 55104, at 612-641-8058.
 -0- 3/30/93
 /CONTACT: Mary Lilja of Lilja, ink, 612-893-7140, for The St. Paul Companies/


CO: Communities of Color; The St. Paul Companies ST: Minnesota IN: SU:

KH -- MN006 -- 1038 03/30/93 12:09 EST
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Date:Mar 30, 1993
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