Updated: 02/20/2014 6:21 AM KSTP.com By: Tom Hauser
Minnesota high school students are graduating at the highest rate in a decade after steady increases the past four years.
In figures released by the Minnesota Department of Education on Wednesday, we now know 79.5 percent of Minnesota high school students graduated in 2013. That's two points higher than last year and nearly four points higher than the 2010 graduation rate of 75.5 percent.
"We just are so proud of our school districts," Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius said at a State Capitol news conference. "We're proud of our teachers, our principals--who are paying attention to every single kid."
The report shows gains in graduation rates among all races of students. For instance, 57 percent of black students graduated (6-point gain) and 58 percent of Hispanic students (5-point gain). That's still far below the 85 percent graduation rate for white students, but the gap has narrowed by nearly nine percent since 2010.
The Dayton administration credits bigger investments in education funding and policy changes they've implemented.
GOP lawmakers say policies they implemented also deserve credit. "The results that I saw are really an example of what began in the Pawlenty administration when we did some major reform," says GOP House member Sondra Erickson (R-Princeton). "We put in place a requirement that students before they graduate pass at a proficiency level or above and I think that's what's playing out today."