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University of Minnesota Extension

Why is the EOBL program important?

Education: Our Best Legacy (EOBL) is important because the achievement gap still exists. There are differences in academic performance between groups of students in Minnesota and beyond. It is important to close achievement gaps and ensure all students are performing well. Doing so is critical to the social and economic well-being of people in Minnesota and beyond.

The graduation gap in Minnesota

Minnesota ranks high in academic achievement. It also has one of the highest levels of educational disparities in the country.

One important factor is the number of students who graduate from high school. Graduation rates for Minnesota students of color have been increasing but they still lag behind their white peers. For example, the Minnesota Department of Education reports that in 2013:

  • Nearly 59 percent of Hispanic students graduated high school on time.

  • Slightly more than 85 percent of white students graduated high school on time.

The same is true for students in poverty and English Language Learners.

It’s important to note that the achievement gap results in large part from an opportunity gap. Students of color lack access to quality schools and school-related resources.

The graduation gaps between student groups have been getting smaller in Minnesota. Minnesota has seen the greatest increases in graduation rates for:

  • Minnesota students of color.

  • English Language Learners.

  • Students in poverty.

The Minnesota Department of Education tracks data on the reduction of graduation gaps for students. See the following tables for more information. In these tables “graduation” is defined as finishing high school within four years of entering 9th grade.


Kathleen A. Olson, program director for partnering for school success

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