ST. PAUL, Minn. -- More than half of Minnesota pupils tested failed to meet grade-level standards in math, reading or science, according to the 2023 Statewide Assessment and Accountability Data.
The new data was released Thursday morning by the Minnesota Department of Education.
The report shows only 39% of students tested met the basic science standards for their grade level; that means 60.8% failed to meet standards in science.
According to the breakdown, just over half of students did not meet reading standards, 54.5% did not meet math standards.
"These statewide assessment results reinforce what we and other states around the country already know—our students, families, school communities, and educators are continuing to recover from the pandemic and need our support," Commissioner Willie Jett said. "This data is important as one part of a broader set of measures that tell us how our students and families are doing and what we need to do in partnership with our school communities to provide support for students to not only recover, but also excel."
Those figures aren't significantly different from the prior report -- reading scores were down 1%, and science scores were down 2%. Math scores were actually up 1% from the last round.
In Minneapolis Public Schools, only about a third of students are proficient in math, the study found, with 41% proficient in reading, and less than a third proficient in science. The decline extends to the suburbs, where proficiency dropped more than 10% in science in Edina.
The report also noted a spike in chronic absenteeism since the pandemic. Only about 70% of students attended school at least 90% of the school year. Before the pandemic, that figure was closer to 85%.
Public education receives the largest amount of taxpayer dollars compared to anything else in Minnesota; this past session, lawmakers added $2.3 billion to the budget.
"Let me be 100% clear. I know we need to improve outcomes for our students. Our MDE staff know it, our educators, students and families know it. We are not running from that conversation," Jett said.
Critics, however, say better public schools isn't all about adding up the dollars.
"Parents, something I hear from them over and over again is 'keep politics out of the classroom.' Bring it back to fundamentals - reading, writing, math and science," said Sen. Zach Duckworth, R-Lakeville.
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