Graduation Rate For American Indian Students Remains StagnantBy Kate Raddatz

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Department of Education says that in 2019 high school seniors reached a graduation rate high-mark of almost 84%.

That works out to more than 57,000 students. In addition, more than 3,800 students also earned their diplomas in 2019, graduating within five, six, or seven years after beginning high school.

“I’m proud of all of our students, educators and schools for again posting the highest graduation rate on record. Reaching that high school graduation milestone is a pivotal moment on a student’s path to success because it opens up so many different life options,” Commissioner Mary Cathryn Ricker said. “I am heartened to see a measurable decrease in the number of students who dropped out of high school. That suggests that students are hearing the message that the adults in their lives are here to support them, and if they choose to persist in their education that we will persist right alongside them. I know that, with the help of my fellow commissioners as well as educators and families all across the state, Minnesota can be the first state in the nation to effectively end high school dropouts.”

This comes as the achievement gap in Minnesota has been an area of discussion from state leaders. They include Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis president Neel Kashkari and retired justice Alan Page, who have proposed an amendment to the state constitution that would require Minnesota schools to meet certain standards.

The new numbers from the education department show the achievement gap for black students has increased over 5 percentage points and the rates for Hispanic students have gone up 3.5 points.

The Minnesota Department of Education did say that the graduation rates for American Indian students remained stagnant. Only about half of those students are graduating high school.

“While we have some areas to highlight, we recognize that some gaps remain,” Commissioner Ricker said. “Minnesota has a lot of work to do to close these gaps and end these disparities.”

Commissioner Ricker said work is being done at the state level to make improvements, including proposals to strengthen relationships between schools and American Indian families, and adding cultural responsiveness to principal and teacher evaluation.

In 2018 the Minnesota Department of Education set a goal of making sure 90% of students graduate in four years and that no student group graduation rate is below 85%.

To see a breakdown of school graduation rates across the state in 2019 click here.

Kate Raddatz