Minnesota has long enjoyed a reputation for putting a priority on education for its children. Minnesota remains a national leader in education with an innovative K-12 school system, many fine community colleges and technical schools, an excellent major public university system and outstanding private colleges. In fact, except for Boston, there are more colleges and universities in the Saint Paul/East Metro area than anywhere else in the country.
Minnesota’s education system is a national model. The state’s public school open enrollment program allows students to enroll in schools outside their district, and the post-secondary enrollment options program encourages high school students to attend colleges tuition-free. Young people learn work skills early too. The teenage workforce participation rate is the highest in the U.S. Young adults have access to great schools, which in turn produce a very high graduation rate — according to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.
Minnesota is committed to having quality teachers. The state has the highest percentage of public school secondary teachers who majored in the core academic subjects they teach (86 percent versus the U.S. average of 64 percent). In addition, Minnesota’s teaching force is the highest-ranked in the nation, based on 12 quality indicators, according to the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future.
The majority of Minnesota children are prepared for kindergarten, according to the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE). The Minnesota School Readiness Study found that between 90 percent and 97 percent of Minnesota five-year-olds were "In Process" or "Proficient" in five developmental areas necessary for success: physical development, the arts, personal and social development, language and literacy, and mathematical thinking.
According to ACT test results in 2007, Minnesota high school students in the class of 2007 earned an average composite score of 22.5 on the ACT college admission and placement exam. The national average score is 21.2 out of a possible 36 points. Seventy-eight percent (up from 68% the previous year) took the ACT test either in their junior or senior year.
The Saint Paul/East Metro area is home to many nationally recognized private institutions — such as Macalester College, University of St. Thomas, College of St. Catherine, Concordia University Saint Paul, Hamline University, Bethel University and Northwestern College. In 2008, Macalester College ranked 26th among national liberal arts colleges by U.S. News & World Report. William Mitchell College of Law, located on historic Summit Avenue in the heart of Saint Paul, boasts such distinguished alumni as Warren E. Burger, former chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. The Saint Paul/East Metro area also has many fine technical and community colleges that offer training in a variety of trades and professions.
The University of Minnesota — with campuses in Saint Paul and Minneapolis, as well as several locations in the non-metro areas — is one of the largest public land-grant research universities in the country. Known globally as a leader in teaching, research and public service, the U of M consistently ranks among the top 20 public universities in the nation. The classic Big 10 campus, home of the Gophers, is located in the heart of the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area. The U of M is dedicated to lifelong learning, offering more than 150 bachelor’s degrees, 200 master’s degrees and 100 doctoral degree programs. The University of Minnesota School of Law ranked 22nd nationally in 2008 (U.S. News and World Report).