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Continued: Despite improvements, learning gap is still too large, Minnesota says

Minnesota’s waiver from No Child Left Behind requires that schools hit targets each year in order to meet the goal of cutting the achievement gap in half by 2017.

In addition to measuring how proficient students are in reading and math, the state will also gauge graduation rates among white and nonwhite students.

The department will release 2013 graduation data later this month that show “dramatic acceleration of improvement across the state,” Cassellius said. In 2012, about 83 percent of white students, 51 percent of black students and 53 percent of Hispanic students graduated from high school in Minnesota.

“Every child deserves the opportunity to succeed,” the commissioner said. “But for too long, achievement gaps in Minnesota not only persisted, they grew until they were some of the worst in the nation.

“That is no longer the case. We are reclaiming Minnesota as a leader in education.” • 612-673-4469 • 612-673-7192

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  • Monroe Elementary School third graders in the ESL program read about Native Americans and their cliff dwellings from a book "Pueblo Ruins." Among the third graders working with teacher Ann Mylrea were Jenny Khon, left to right, Ezekiel Olagunju and Emmy Yang, as Mylrea searched for photographs on a tablet.

  • Monroe Elementary School third-graders Jenny Khon and Ezekiel Olagunju read about Native Americans and their cliff dwellings on Tuesday from a book called “Pueblo Ruins.” Working with them was teacher Ann Mylrea.

  • Closing the gap

    • Minnesota has a waiver for the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

    • Under state’s new accountability system, schools are judged on achievement gap, graduation rates, academic growth and proficiency.

    • Goal is to shrink achievement gap between white and minority students by 50 percent by 2017.

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