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Our view: For a change, school news worth cheering

Despite all the knocks and harsh words so often directed toward Duluth’s and Minnesota’s schools, clearly we’re doing something right when it comes to learning.

The state Department of Education announced yesterday Minnesota students topped the nation in ACT scores — for the ninth year in a row. Minnesota seniors posted an average score of 22.9, bettering the nationwide average of 21. And more Minnesota students, 39 percent of them, met benchmarks for English, reading, math and science; the percentage nationally was 26.

“Minnesota students understand the importance of the ACT and are motivated to score well,” Minnesota Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius said in a statement. “They know what score they need to get into their desired post-secondary institution. That is why we have been top of the nation for almost a decade.”

This year, 76 percent of Minnesota high school seniors took the ACT test, a 2 percent increase over last year. Nationwide, only 57 percent took the ACT. In this category the Gopher State stands to get even better. Next year all Minnesota juniors will take the ACT for free as part of new graduation requirements.

“This will help open post-secondary education opportunities for more students and provide important information to educators on whether students are career- and

college-ready,” Matt Swenson, the press secretary in the governor’s and lieutenant governor’s office, wrote in a news release.

“Having all high school students take the ACT will help them understand how well they are prepared for a postsecondary education that fits their needs and interests,” Minnesota Higher Education Commissioner Larry Pogemiller said in a statement.

All of this suggests that when it comes to learning, not only is Minnesota doing something right, we’re continuing to do a lot of things right.