April 23, 2019 07:30 PM
(ABC 6 News) -- A high school diploma can mean the difference between landing a job or not; it serves as a symbol of some of the skills students picked up during their K-12 Education.
That’s why the Minnesota Department of Education keeps track of graduation rates, trying to figure out what's working and where students are slipping through the cracks.
On Tuesday, April 23, the 2018 graduation results were released. The four-year percentage shows 83.2% of students graduated.
“That is the state’s highest rate on record,” said Mary Ricker, the Education Commissioner for Minnesota.
Rochester Public Schools (RPS) saw an 87% graduation rate.
“We have been consistently, or at least in the years I have been here, above that state average,” said RPS Superintendent Michael Muñoz.
RPS has had a consistent climb in the grad rate over the past five years. Officials attribute this to a few things.
“In the last nine years or so, our schools and our school districts have been doing more and more to create sort of engaging pathways to a high school diploma,” said Ricker. “Not only are educators and school leaders not giving up on students, they are more ambitious and creative than ever.”
“I think the shift is now going to giving students the skills to be successful in life and not putting so much weight on state testing, which is a one-time shot,” said Muñoz.
Still, when you break down the results by ethnicity, the disparities are visible in Rochester:
-White students: 90%
-Asian students: 87%
-Black students: 80%
-Hispanic students: 75%
-Two or more races: 82%
Over the last few years, RPS has been designing programing around its diverse population.
“We are doing a really great job of closing that gap,” said Muñoz.
The biggest disparity is with students who have special needs; 63% graduated in Rochester last year.
“Across the State of Minnesota, our state and federal Special Ed funding is not keeping pace with our costs,” said Muñoz. “I know there is some legislation being discussed this year and there was the previous year, really helping districts get the Special Ed funding to close that financial gap that they have.”
Other area high school graduation rates in 2018 are as follows:
-Albert Lea: 78%
Created: April 23, 2019 07:30 PM
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