Close it: Minnesota’s graduation gaps

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by Laura Huiras | June 5, 2009 • On Wednesday, Education Week released a study on state graduation rates ranking Minnesota ninth in the nation with a rate of 78 percent for the Class of 2005, compared to the national average of 71 percent. That is the good news.

Hindsight is the official blog of Minnesota 2020. Hindsight gives the run down on the news that jumps out at us on the issues that matter. Often times these stories show us how much further we need to go to have the progressive policy realized in Minnesota.

The bad news: Minnesota continues to underperform in narrowing the achievement gap. The national average among black students is 55 percent, while in Minnesota it is just 39 percent. The same disparity is seen with Hispanic students, of whom just 42 percent graduated, far behind the national average of 58 percent.

Compile these stats atop the looming 2.7 billion dollar state deficit with Governor Pawlenty’s budget gimmick to delay state aid to school districts and the road to closing the achievement gap stops here. Schools will have to dip into funding reserves and cut staffing. This is not a solution. Trying to build new education centers and improving teacher training while facing budget freezes and payment delays is impractical.

Minnesota will only continue to hold one of the highest graduation rates in the nation by pushing schools forward through sufficient funding and keeping education a priority. It is time we leave no student in Minnesota left standing onstage without a diploma.

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