Minnesota graduation rates continue to rise, even if gaps still persist

April 23, 2019 12:35 PM

High school graduation rates continue to rise in Minnesota, though gaps remain between white students and students of color - even as progress is being made.

That's according to data released by the Minnesota Department of Education Tuesday, which shows the state's overall graduation rate in 2018 was 83.2 percent, with 55,869 students obtaining their diplomas and moving on to either careers or postsecondary education.


That is the state's highest graduation rate on record, according to a release.

The data also shows that 3,641 students from earlier classes earned diplomas last year.

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The graduation rate for white students in 2018 was 88.4 percent, up from 86.5 percent in 2014. The graduation rate for African-American students rose from 60.2 percent in 2014 to 67.4 percent in 2018. Graduation rates for Hispanic students also rose, going from 63.2 percent in 2014 to 66.8 percent in 2018.

So did graduation rates for Native American students, which increased from 48.2 percent in 2014 to 51 percent in 2018. Graduation rates for Asian students rose from 82.4 percent in 2014 to 86.6 percent in 2018.

Overall, the release states that the numbers represent an almost 15 percent reduction in the gap between white and nonwhite students since 2014.

"I am going to continue the effort to look across the state of Minnesota for programs that are working for our students, and make sure I am sharing those promising practices so others can learn from them and we can raise graduation rates for all of our students," Department of Education Commissioner Mary Cathryn Ricker said Tuesday.

In the Minneapolis Public Schools district, the graduation rate in 2018 was 69.2 percent, up from 58.8 percent in 2014, 67.3 percent in 2016 and 66 percent in 2017. In the St Paul Public Schools district, the graduation rate in 2018 was 74.9 percent, up from 74.5 percent in 2014, but down from 75.9 percent in 2016 and 76.9 percent in 2017.

In the Anoka-Hennepin School District, the graduation rate in 2018 was 86.6 percent, up from 81.9 percent in 2014, 84.8 percent in 2016 and 83.2 percent in 2017.

Numbers for districts and schools across the state can be found on the Department of Education's online Minnesota Report Card.

Ricker said the rising graduation rates may be due in part to school districts creating more pathways to success - offering options such as online school, alternative programs for kids who struggle in the traditional education system and courses to earn high school and college credits at the same time.

The Department of Education is running a social media campaign Tuesday to promote strides being made across the state. Students and schools are encouraged to share positive stories and accomplishments by using the hashtag #MNGraduates.

Click here to view the complete statewide, district, school and county graduation rates.

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