The Minnesota Department of Education’s April 25 press release about high school graduation rates left out something very important. MDE noted an overall 0.2 percentage point increase in students graduating in four years from 2021 to 2022 (up to 83.6% overall), a 2.5 percentage point increase by American Indian students (up to 61.1%), and a 3.1 percentage point increase by Black students (up to 73.5%) . Hispanic/Latino rates declined by 0.2 of a percentage point. However, MDE did not mention that during the pandemic some districts changed the rules, making it easier to graduate. 

Give journalists Josh Verges and Matt Cory credit for explaining in 2021 in a Forum article ( that Minnesota’s graduation rules were modified in some districts. This month, in conversations with me, Minnesota’s two largest districts confirmed that because of MDE’s pandemic-related recommendations, they converted failing grades to passing, and in one case, reduced the number of courses required to graduate. 

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