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Letter: Draw on state surplus to help kids catch up

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The Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA) test results from this past school year were just released. They confirm what we already knew: School closures, staffing challenges and virtual learning due to the pandemic impacted all students, but disproportionately LatinX, Black and American Indian students. The pandemic has widened Minnesota’s racial achievement gaps in reading and math.

As school administrators and elected officials scrutinize these unfortunate results, part of the answer is right in front of us. Reading Corps and Math Corps are effective, evidence-based tutoring programs that are proven to accelerate student achievement. These rigorously studied programs use trained and supported AmeriCorps members to provide interventions for students below grade level in reading and math.

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Our teachers are stretched thin and the widening gaps in student learning will make designing lessons that reach all children more challenging. That’s where effective tutoring programs can be most impactful. A recent survey showed that 95% of teachers found Reading Corps and Math Corps to be effective strategies to improving outcomes.

The “secret sauce” of these programs’ success is caring adults who build relationships with students and use evidence-based strategies to accelerate learning. Many tutors also go on to become licensed teachers, filling the dire need across the state.

Federal AmeriCorps funding requires a state and local match. I call on state lawmakers to use some of the state budget surplus to expand these programs to reach all those impacted by the pandemic – including our students, families and teachers.


Patti Brossman, Reading Corps Alum, Rochester

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