This morning, the quality of Minnesota’s public policy debate got a boost with the official launch of the Twin Cities Compass, a partnership between Wilder Research and The Itasca Project. This slick website brings together key indicators on issues important to the future of the seven-county Twin Cities metro area, including early childhood, civic education, education, health, transportation, housing, public safety, and the economy and worforce (the environment is in the works). Even better, the folks behind the Twin Cities Compass project recognize that focusing on overall trends can hide the most important story. So the website also highlights the data that examines disparities by race, place, age, income and gender.
The trends you’ll find reported on the website are a cause for concern. Per capita income growth in the Twin Cities region has stagnated, less than half of our students of color are graduating from high school, and more than one-third of area Hispanics are without health insurance. And those are just a few of the available statistics.
As Kathy Tunheim (President and CEO of Tunhiem Partners, and a member of the project’s Governance Committee) pointed out in her introduction, “Good information sets the stage for good decisions.” We couldn’t agree more. Policymakers and advocates should take notice of this valuable source of data…and start taking actions to move the compass needle back in the right direction.