MN Dept of Ed releases 2019 graduation stats


Black students rates improved but significantly trailed White and Asian students

Last week, the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) released the class of 2019’s graduation rate data. Overall, Minnesota seniors reached another historic graduation rate high of 83.7% for the 57,171 students who graduated in 2019.

The graduation rate for Black students improved from 67.4% to 69.9% but trailed the 88.7% rate of White students and 87.6% for Asian students.

“These gaps in our graduation rates are unacceptable,” said Commissioner Mary Cathryn Ricker. “Students of all races and ZIP codes deserve the same opportunity at achieving the life they have always dreamed.

“Governor Walz, Lieutenant Governor Flanagan, and I will not stop until gaps are closed and every student in the state of Minnesota receives a world-class education from caring, qualified teachers in a safe and nurturing environment,” she said.

South Washington County and Brooklyn Center High were examples of a district and high school that outpaced others in graduating African American students.

“They [South Washington County] took three-and-half years to make sure every single one of their teachers were trained in culturally responsive education,” continued Ricker. “This idea of intentionally building relationships with students and making sure there is a culturally responsive component to education has been a pattern in school communities where they are outpacing our state average.” 

She said that other schools and school districts “should replicate schools that are doing it right.”

Getting to know students is important, she said. “When we are intentional, what students experience is a school that is welcoming to them, a school where they feel safe, a school where they feel seen and heard and are missed when they are gone.”

In an effort to boost the Black graduation rate, she said policies have been introduced for every school to have non-exclusionary discipline policies so that more students are kept in the classroom.

 “We want to meet the academic, social and emotional needs of students and prioritize diverse and accomplished staff,” Ricker concluded.