The Minnesota Department of Education is planning on changing its data collection systems to allow schools to report students' gender identity, including the option to designate a gender other than female or male.
The department began looking into expanding how it collects student gender data back in March 2019. Currently, MDE collects gender in the Minnesota Automated Reporting Student System (MARSS), which only allows female or male as options.
In its feedback sessions over the past year, MDE learned people want more than one gender option in addition to male and female, such as nonbinary, genderqueer, genderfluid, two-spirit, etc.
What's more, 2.8% of ninth-grade students in Minnesota's 2019 Student Survey reported being transgender, genderqueer genderfluid, or unsure about their gender identity.
This comes as at least 19 states and the District of Columbia allow residents to choose M, F or X on their state IDs and driver's licenses, including Minnesota, which has allowed this since October 2018, MDE says. Meanwhile, many colleges and universities, as well as some schools in Minnesota, allow students to identify as a gender other than female or male in their enrollment records.
Minnesotans can provide comments on the implementation of MDE's gender data collection through Dec. 13 online here.
MDE hopes to have all schools using these new options when collecting and reporting student gender data, which is used for things like federal and state reports and in assigning demographics to student outcome information, by the 2022-23 school year, according to MDE.