It should be great news: Graduation rates for Minnesota’s black and Hispanic students—which have long lagged the rate for white students—are on the rise.
But how much do these new graduates actually know? What skills have they mastered? In other words, what is their high school diploma really worth?
MinnPost.com recently profiled a new “Spanish Heritage” program at Roosevelt High School that Principal Michael Bradley credits with helping to boost the school’s Hispanic graduation rate by about fifteen percentage points in 2015. The program features “culturally relevant pedagogy” and focuses on developing Hispanic students’ sense of “cultural identity.”
What precisely do students learn in the Spanish Heritage program? The article explained that students “see themselves in the curriculum,” “find their voice,” and “become their own advocates.” But it says little about whether they acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to become well-informed, productive citizens.
Why is this important? In searching the Minnesota Department of Education’s website, I discovered a disconcerting fact: Though Roosevelt’s Hispanic graduation rate increased to almost 75 percent in 2015, only 6 percent of the school’s Hispanic students were proficient in reading and only 10 percent in math, as measured by state tests.
MinnPost’s profile concluded with ...