Despite gains, grad rate gaps persist

The Schott Foundation for Public Education released a report on the national graduation rate and found that, despite overall gains, gaps between Black males and Latino males and their White peers persist. The national graduation rate for Black males has increased by ten percentage points since 2001-02, with 2010-11 being the first year that more than half of the nation’s ninth-grade Black males graduated with a regular diploma four years later. Yet, this progress has closed the graduation gap between Black male and White, non-Latino males by only three percentage points. According to the study, at this rate, it would take nearly 50 years for Black males to achieve the same high school graduation rates as their White male counterparts.

In Washington, 55 percent of Black males graduated on time in 2009-10, a level that is nearly 20 percent less than their White peers’ graduation rate. The rate is three percent higher than the national average and an increase of five percent from the 2007-08 year. Of Latino males in Washington in 2009-10, 56 percent graduated on time, two percent fewer than the national average.

The report notes that the states with the highest graduation rates for Black males are those with relatively low percentages of Black male enrollment, like Maine, Vermont and Utah. It draws the conclusion that Black males “perform better in places and spaces where they are not relegated to under-resourced districts or schools. When provided similar opportunities they are more likely to produce similar or better outcomes as their White male peers.”

The authors also urge states to take action on school discipline as a way to close gaps. Blacks and Latinos face disproportionate rates of out-of-school suspensions and expulsions. They recommend replacing these punitive practices with well-resourced schools where teachers have the training, mentoring, administrative support, supplies and the facilities they need to keep students in the classroom. The Schott Foundation also supports the call for a moratorium on out-of-school suspensions

For the full report click here (PDF). For the 2007-08 report, click here.

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