In communities across our state, many children face severe and pervasive educational disparities.

Students of color, Indigenous students, and students from low-income backgrounds are systematically underserved by Minnesota’s public education system. Research shows that if current patterns are allowed to persist, by 2031 most high school students in Minnesota will not be academically prepared for success should they choose to attend college.

Without change, these gaps will widen. Unfortunately, the current education-information landscape in Minnesota is complex and fragmented. This makes it difficult for parents, educators and policymakers to have a true understanding of how our public education system serves our children. It also obscures the striking gaps that exist within communities.

Illuminating these critical issues is why the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis created a new, interactive data tool. This tool, called Public Education Profiles, is the first to aggregate student outcomes at the state legislative-district level for all public schools in Minnesota. It provides meaningful information about educational disparities our children face. It also offers clear comparisons across several measures of student achievement by grade level, race and ethnicity, and socioeconomic status.

You can view data in individual school districts, by legislative district, and across the state. Seeing how the system performs at the legislative-district level can empower parents, educators and others to work with their elected representatives to pursue policies that will help close long-standing racial and socioeconomic inequities in our public education system. With schools’ funding and staffing directly driven by the policies set by the state legislature, community members’ conversations with elected representatives can affect critically important systems-level change.

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Education is a top priority for the Minneapolis Fed because it is directly tied to our state’s current and future economic prosperity and strength. From pioneering research on the importance of early childhood education to our support for the Page amendment—a bipartisan effort to make a quality public education a civil right—the Minneapolis Fed is committed to improving educational outcomes for all children.

Minnesota’s economic future depends on it.

Alene Tchourumoff is senior vice president of Community Development and Engagement at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.

Vanessa Palmer is a data scientist in Community Development and Engagement at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.

This letter does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Forum's editorial board nor Forum ownership.