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Education Minnesota: Graduation rate inches ahead, but more work to do

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SAINT PAUL, Minnesota. April 25, 2023 – The slowly improving graduation rate in Minnesota is welcome news but more needs to be done to ensure all Minnesota students have access to a world-class education, no matter where they live, what they look like, or their backgrounds, said Denise Specht, president of Education Minnesota. 

“It’s good to hear the graduation rate is inching ahead for students statewide and particularly for Black and Indigenous students, but I’m worried about whether it’s sustainable without immediate improvements to the teaching and learning conditions in our schools,” Specht said. “The staffing shortage has created conditions in which educators are covering for open jobs and it’s burning them out. The state needs to get serious about recruiting and retaining more educators, and that includes improvements to compensation from the first day on the job through a dignified retirement with a good pension.” 

On Tuesday, the Minnesota Department of Education reported the graduation rate for the class of 2022 was 83.6 percent, which represents a 0.2 percentage point increase from 2021. The rate has almost returned to the pre-pandemic level of 83.7 percent in 2019.  

The four-year graduation rate for American Indian students increased 2.5 percentage points from 58.6 percent in 2021 to 61.1 percent in 2022. For Black students, the graduation rate increased 3.1 points from 58.6 percent in 2021 to 73.5 percent in 2022. The rate for Latinx students declined by 0.2 points. 

“Minnesota’s public schools are slowly closing the achievement gap as measured by graduation rates, but it’s happening much too slowly and the state’s BIPOC communities are right to demand better,” Specht said. “Gov. Tim Walz and the Legislature are poised to do the right things by investing in full-service community schools, diversifying the teaching workforce and providing an updated curriculum that’s honest about the past and present and exposes students to different points of view.” 

About Education Minnesota
Education Minnesota is the voice for professional educators and students. Education Minnesota’s members include teachers and education support professionals in Minnesota’s public school districts, faculty members at Minnesota’s community and technical colleges and University of Minnesota campuses in Duluth and Crookston, retired educators and student teachers. Education Minnesota is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association and AFL-CIO.

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