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Washington D.C. ranks among worst in graduation rates, while Texas ranks among the highest

ZENITHA PRINCE | 8/23/2013, 7:35 a.m.

The Afro-American Newspaper

(NNPA) – High school graduation rates in the United States are at their highest since 1974, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, a U.S. Department of Education report. However, Black students still graduated at a rate below other ethnic groups.

“Last year, the Class of 2011 in Texas set a graduation rate that was among the highest in the nation, and now the Class of 2012 has bested that number,” said Commissioner of Education Michael Williams in a statement to the press. “All those working in Texas education should be proud of our strong numbers and the strides we continue to make as a state.”

Of the 316,758 Texas high school students in the ninth grade, just three years ago, 87.7 graduated this year. An additional 5 percent continued in high school and one percent received a GED.

More specifically, 83.5 of African American students in Texas gradated; while the graduation rate for other ethnic/racial groups were 84.3 percents of Hispanic students, 93 percent of White students and 94.4 percent of Asian students. Moreover, 90 percent of female students in Texas graduated, while the rate for male students was 85.4 percent.

Across the nation, of the 4 million public school students who entered ninth grade in the 2006-2007 school year, 78.2 percent, or 3.1 million, received high school diplomas in the 2009-2010 school year, an increase of more than 2 percentage points.

The report also detailed the achievement rates by states. Among U.S. jurisdictions, Nevada and the District of Columbia were the lowest, with rates of 57.8 percent and 59.9 percent, respectively. Graduation rates in Texas were at 84.3 percent. At the high end, Wisconsin and Vermont had graduation rates of 91.1 percent and 91.4 percent, respectively.

“The NCES report is good news after three decades of stagnation,” Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a statement. “It’s encouraging that the on-time graduation rate is up substantially from four years earlier. And it’s promising that high school graduation rates are up for all ethnic groups in 2010 – especially for Hispanics, whose graduation rate has jumped almost 10 points since 2006.”

Among racial/ethnic groups, African American student were at 66.1 percent, while Asian/Pacific Islander students had the highest graduation rate at 93.5 percent. The rates for other groups were 83.0 percent for White students, 71.4 percent for Hispanic students, and 69.1 percent for American Indian/Alaska Native students.

“Our high school dropout rate is still unsustainably high for a knowledge-based economy and still unacceptably high in our African American, Latino and Native American communities,” Duncan said.

Across the United States, more than 500,000 students who were supposed to graduate in the 2009-2010 academic year dropped out, a rate of 3.4 percent. That figure represents a decline from 4.1 percent in the 2008-2009 period.

Asian/Pacific Islander and White students had the lowest dropout rates, at 1.9 percent and 2.3 percent, respectively. In increasing order, the dropout rate for Hispanic students was 5.0 percent; for Black students, 5.5 percent; and for American Indian/Alaska Native students, 6.7 percent.

The Dallas Examiner contributed to this report.