Trouble at Minneapolis’ “Best” High School?

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Not all is well at Minneapolis’ “best” high school.

Southwest High School has long been considered a bright spot in the otherwise floundering Minneapolis Public Schools district. In 2012 it was ranked the top public high school in Minnesota, and in the top 200 nationwide.

But the MCA scores for 2014 indicate something alarming: math proficiency has fallen off a cliff at Southwest. Last year, only 34% of its 11th-grade students tested proficient in math, far below the state average of 50%.

The 49% math proficiency among white students is surprisingly low, especially considering that Southwest High School is located in the affluent Linden Hills area of Minneapolis. But if the white student proficiency is surprising, the 6% math proficiency of black students is nothing short of scandalous. It means that only 5 of the 78 black students in last year’s junior class met grade-level standards for math.

As the need for young adults with experience in STEM fields grows, and an increasing need for math skills is required for tomorrow’s workforce, it’s troubling to see that Southwest’s students are regressing in a subject so critical for their futures.

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