Home Press Release Graduation rates dip slightly during pandemic, show students need more support

Graduation rates dip slightly during pandemic, show students need more support

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ST. PAUL, Minnesota. March 30, 2022 – Graduation rates dipped slightly during the pandemic and significant gaps by race and class persist, according to 2021 data released Wednesday by the Minnesota Department of Education.

The four-year graduation rate was 83.3 percent for last year’s high school seniors, a 0.5 percentage point decrease from 2020. The drop in the graduation rate was mostly driven by a 0.3 percentage point increase in the dropout rate.

“We know the pandemic has been hard on Minnesota students and families. We must celebrate the tens of thousands of seniors who persevered and received their diploma, as well as the educators who helped the class of 2021 get over the finish line,” said Denise Specht, president of Education Minnesota.

Graduation rates slightly increased for some racial and ethnic student groups, but wide gaps still remain between students of color and their white peers.

“The drop in the overall graduation rate and persistent opportunity gaps show our students need more support,” Specht said. “Minnesota has the money to invest in the resources students and educators need. It’s time for Senate Republicans in the Minnesota Legislature to quit sitting on the state’s $9.25 billion surplus and settle up with public schools that have been shortchanged for years.”

Education Minnesota is pushing the Legislature to use the surplus to start fully funding public education and build the schools our students and educators deserve. This includes increasing mental health supports, addressing staffing shortages and class size issues that give our educators less time to teach and care for our students, giving education support professionals the respect and compensation they deserve and creating welcoming schools by recruiting more educators of color and offering students an honest curriculum that accurately represents our diverse backgrounds and history.

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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