The Robins, Kaplan, Miller, & Ciresi (RKMC) Foundation for Children is launching a major public service campaign to call attention to Minnesota’s glaring achievement gap and to push for workable solutions to close it.

Minnesota, despite the excellent reputation of its public education system, has one of the widest achievement gaps of any state in the country. For example, 88 percent of Minnesota’s white third grade students are proficient in reading vs. 38 percent of its black students and Minnesota’s black fourth graders rank just above Alabama’s black students in reading.

The campaign, which includes skyway banners, print, online and radio ads, represents a significant effort by the foundation to engage the community in discussing and solving a vexing education problem in Minnesota. The ads don’t just raise the issue, but suggest possible solutions and encourage a broader public discussion about how to close the achievement gap.

 “We wanted to address a critical problem facing Minnesota’s children and one that directly affects the future economic success of the state,” said Michael V. Ciresi, president and chair of the board of the RKMC Foundation for Children. “The achievement gap affects every Minnesotan in some way,” Ciresi said. “We need to close the gap sooner rather than later. Every child can learn. We need to give every child the right tools.”

Since its founding in 1999, the RKMC Foundation for Children has awarded more than $9 million in grants to educational programs and organizations and another $3 million to social justice and public health programs.

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