Diversity Into Action, presents Writing Our Future, a summer literacy event intended to raise awareness and heighten the appeal of literacy programs among K-12 students of color and their families. Writing Our Future will showcase literacy programs offered by Twin Cities school districts and community organizations through active reading and writing workshops. Additionally, live readings and performances will help reinforce the creative, cultural, academic, and professional value of literacy in a fun and engaging way.
According to the National Summer Learning Association, the summer months lead to losses in reading and math skills among more than 25 million low-income public school students in the United States. For these children, summer is not an opportunity to pursue and explore individual interests, but a struggle for safety and security. Known as “the summer slide,” this phenomenon is a major contributor to both the achievement gap between low-income students and their more affluent peers and the high school dropout rate. Over a lifetime, these summer losses add up to gaps in achievement, employment, and personal well-being.
Educational attainment among communities of color in Minnesota trails the general population average, both nationally and statewide. Individuals in communities of color tend to have lower assessment scores in math, science, and reading skills, hindering their ability to access post-secondary education and achieve the long-term benefits that go along with advanced learning. In 2014, Hispanics (63.2%), African American (60.4%), and Native American (50.6%) students had a significantly lower high school graduation rate compared to Minnesota’s non-Hispanic white population (86.3%).
Education is a well-defined pathway to a brighter future. Many studies have shown a correlation between educational achievement and individual prosperity. Lesser educated individuals are more likely to make long-term use of public assistance programs that place a financial strain on federal and state budgets. The education gap is a major driver of inequality. Diversity into Action is committed to helping reduce income disparity in Minnesota by providing communities of color with the tools, resources, and skills to enable them to rise above the poverty line and live lives of dignity and respect. By highlighting K-12 educational resources, we believe that literacy and achievement gaps can be narrowed before they become insurmountable.