Minn. high school graduation rate up but racial gaps persist

Kennedy graduates toss their caps into the air.
John F. Kennedy High School graduates tossed their caps in the air at the end of commencement exercises in 2016.
Evan Frost | MPR News 2016

The Minnesota Department of Education said Tuesday that 83.2 percent of high school seniors graduated in 2018. It's the state's highest graduation rate on record, up one-half of a percentage point from 2017.

Still, major disparities remained between white students and students of color.

While those gaps narrowed, they were still wide, data released by the Education Department show.

The graduation rate for African-American students was a little more than 67 percent. It was 51 percent for Native Americans.

Female students are graduating at a rate of almost 86 percent compared to less than 81 percent for males.

Students classified as English learners had a graduation rate of less than 66 percent last year.

The statewide goal for 2020 is that 90 percent of students graduate within four years with no student group below 85 percent.

"I am proud that the graduation gap is closing, but I am not satisfied," Education Commissioner Mary Cathryn Ricker said in a statement.

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