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Minnesota's high school graduation rate has hit a new high

More students than ever are graduating within four years, though disparities remain.

Minnesota achieved a record graduation rate in 2019, with 83.7 percent graduating within four years of starting high school.

The Minnesota Department of Education says the percentage, a 0.5 percent rise on 2018, represents 57,171 students who received their high school diplomas within four years.

A further 3,806 students from earlier classes graduated 5-7 years after beginning high school.

"I’m proud of all of our students, educators and schools for again posting the highest graduation rate on record. Reaching that high school graduation milestone is a pivotal moment on a student’s path to success because it opens up so many different life options," said Commissioner Mary Cathryn Ricker.

The dropout rate also fell last year, from 4.6 percent to 4.4 percent.

Despite the record, there remains major disparities in graduation rates between racial groups.

The good news is that the graduation rate for black students increased 5.2 percent last year for a total of 69.9 percent, while the rate for Hispanic students also rose 3.5 percent for the same total of 69.9 percent.

The area for concern is that American Indian students saw a slight decrease in graduation rates, falling 0.2 percent to a 50.8 percent rate.

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Ricker said that the racial and ethnic gaps in graduation rates remain "unacceptable."

"Students of all races and ZIP codes deserve the same opportunity at achieving the life they have always dreamed," she said. "We hear from students and families about what is important, including cultural competence, student voice and building relationships with our students.

"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."

You can find a Department of Education resource showing the graduation rates for individual schools here.

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