Part I: Northside Achievement Zone: Return on Investment doesn’t add up to success

Do you have something you want to tell?

College ready? Does that mean that all of the “zones” children will go to college? 2035 is far away; bullets and violence are here today.

At the end of 2014, Minnesota Public Radio did a story about Northside Achievement Zone (NAZ). The story cites, “An ambitious effort to improve the academic performance of children in north Minneapolis is helping some students in the younger grades make gains, according to a recent assessment of the program. Wilder Research has found that the longer children are enrolled in the Northside Achievement Zone, the greater their improvement. But what happens to parents, families and community members when the research and the data tables tell us unemployment in 55411 and 55405 is up near 40 percent?

Time travel: In 2012, the NAZ annual report cited, “Family enrollment increased 40% over 2011 to 217 families and 584 children. By spring of 2013, enrollment has already grown to 300 families with 830 children.”  In 2014, NAZ told MPR, “The program expects to reach its full capacity of 1,000 families and 2,500 children next year. As of mid-2014, 660 families and 1,640 are children are currently enrolled.”

Again in 2014 – using the formula below, NAZ cites, “The social return on investment in NAZ is $6.12 for every dollar invested, with a net benefit to society of $167,467 per participant. The return on taxpayer investment is $2.74 for every dollar invested. Society gains $200,178 in benefits for the average NAZ participant, but spends only $32,711 to implement NAZ solutions with that participant. These benefits result from: Increased net earnings as a result of increased educational attainment, career counseling, and increased productivity ($147,794) Improved health outcomes ($28,281); Increased tax revenues ($15,943); Other public savings due to lower crime rates, reduced need for special education, and fewer public assistance and child welfare cases ($8,160); The total social gains from NAZ total more than $16.7 million in net.

In taking a closer look at the formula, with the equation spelled out (below), it seems someone has not taken into account the violence in north Minneapolis, nor have they done any diagnostics. If you recall, NAZ granted EMERGE over $300,000.00 between 2013 and 2014. In our opinion, we have not seen an impact on violence within the zone, north Minneapolis or a chance for families in depression to successfully survive in the zone.

[Likelihood of depression]*[Impact of ECE on depression rate (step 1)]*[Health care costs of depression]

                      (1+Discount Rate)([Age of impact] – [Age at participation])

Please review the document below. Make sure you do the math. Part II is in progress: “The Zone’s Killing Fields”

Prospective Return on Investment NAZ (PDF)

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