America’s Woeful Public Schools: The Kids Can’t Graduate
The percentage of high school freshmen who made up the original Class of 2011 who graduated four years later, according to Dropout Nation’s analysis of Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate data released yesterday by the U.S. Department of Education. The new graduation rate calculation is result of a decade-long effort by reformers and researchers such as Jay P. Greene, Robert Balfanz, and Christopher Swanson emerging out of the No Child Left Behind Act to force states into reporting accurate numbers on student progress.
The number of states, territories, and federal education districts with overall graduation rates below the national average. This includes the District of Columbia, whose 59 percent graduation rate is the lowest in the nation. Four other states and territories — Idaho, Kentucky, Oklahoma and Puerto Rico — didn’t report a graduation rate at all.
Three out of five
The percentage of black, Latino, and American Indian and Alaska Native children in the nation’s original Class of 2011 who graduated on time. Just 60 percent of black high schoolers, 61 percent of Latino peers, and 58 percent of American Indian counterparts graduated on time.
The state with the lowest federal graduation rate for black children. A mere 43 percent of black high school freshmen who made up the Silver State’s original Class of 2011 graduated four years later.
The number of states with graduation rates for black children below 60 percent, the threshold for defining a high school as a dropout factory. Another 16 states have graduation rates above 60 percent but below the national average graduation rates for all students.
Montana and Texas
The only states in which four out of every five black freshmen in their respective Classes of 20111 graduated on time.
The number of states with graduation rates for Latino children at dropout factory levels. This includes Minnesota, which has the lowest graduation rates for Latino kids in the nation with just 51 percent of high schoolers graduating on time.
The only states — Arkansas, Kansas, New Jersey, and Texas — in which more than 72 percent of high school freshmen condemned to special education ghettos graduate on time. Texas has the highest graduation rate for special ed students, with 77 percent of kids in the original Class of 2011 graduating on time.
The average graduation rate for special ed high school students. Eleven states have graduation rates for special ed kids below even that woeful average — including Mississippi and Nevada, both tied for the lowest graduation rates for special ed kids, with just one in five graduating on time.
The number of states with graduation rates for American Indian and Alaska Native children at dropout factory levels. Only six states have graduation rates for Native kids of greater than 80 percent.
The good news coming out of yesterday’s release of federal graduation rate data is that states are reporting more-accurate information on how well American public education is doing when it comes to keeping kids on the path to higher education and career success. But the data itself shows once again that far too many children — especially those from minority backgrounds regardless of wealth — drop out of school (and into poverty and prison) after a decade of educational neglect and malpractice. While there is clear evidence from other data about the progress made after a decade of reforms ushered in after the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act, there is still more to do to transform American public education. Once again, we need to embark on the solutions that will help connect our young men and women to brighter futures. And we must push harder, faster, and smarter to do so.