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Low graduation rate for Latinos earns MN 'dropout factory' moniker

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Numbers released by the U.S. Education Department last week show that in most states the high school graduation rate among Latino students trails that of their white counterparts. But the Latino graduation rate is lowest of all in Minnesota at 51 percent. That's fully one-third lower than the 84 percent rate among white students.

Latino children now comprise one-fourth of the students in the country's public schools. Federal officials note the wide discrepancy from state to state when it comes to their graduation rates (Texas and Maine are over 80 percent). The department concludes that state policies do make a difference.

A group clamoring for education reforms has classified states where graduation rates fall below 60 percent as "dropout factories." Dropout Nation notes Minnesota is among seven states whose Latino students fall into that category.

Minnesota businesses are aware of the achievement gap. Some of the biggest - including 3M, Target, and HealthPartners - announced last week they'll join non-profit groups in sinking millions of dollars into a new initiative called Generation Next, which is aimed at boosting graduation rates in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

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