Data show Minnesota students’ achievement in decline, raising concerns about distance learning

Read the report: Allergic to Accountability: Minnesota’s public schools have little to show for decades of increased spending

A new American Experiment report found troubling declines in academic achievement in Minnesota, zero progress in college readiness, and persistent racial disparities, despite a well-funded education system that accounts for 41% of the state budget. The report compared years of data from the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA) and National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). On both sets of tests, students’ scores in reading and mathematics were stagnant or in decline.

Minnesota’s racial achievement gaps also persist, according to the report, which reveals a shocking data point: Mississippi’s Black and Hispanic students outperform Minnesota’s Black and Hispanic students in both math and reading, despite Mississippi spending thousands of dollars less per student each year. According to national test scores, spending has no correlation to better results.

“Minnesota’s public school system has struggled to meet the learning needs of too many students, and it has nothing to do with a lack of funding,” said Policy Fellow Catrin Wigfall. “Policymakers and state leaders take the easy route year after year by lobbying for higher spending without taking responsibility for educational outcomes. Meanwhile, Minnesota’s kids keep falling behind.”

Following the announcement by state officials that most students will not start the 2020 school year in classrooms full-time, Wigfall added, “Our students can’t afford to lose a year’s worth of academic progress. Parents who can afford private schools are enrolling in droves to avoid another distance learning disaster. Parents who can’t afford private schools should be given the same opportunity to put their students’ state education dollars toward effective learning alternatives.”