Friday, September 21, 2012

The Graduation Rate Reality

During the 2009-10 school year, 52 percent of black male students graduated from high school with a regular diploma within four years. This is the first time that the graduation rate has been above 50 percent.  According to a study released by the Schott Foundation for Public Education, the achievement gap between white males and black males has closed by 3 percentage points over 10 years.

In other words, it would take more than 50 years for this gap to close.

The story for Hispanic males is not much better: the national on-time graduation rate for Hispanic males is 58 percent.

Match these dismal statistics with the graduation rates and college enrollment rates of private school choice programs:

  • The D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program has a graduation rate of 91 percent—more than 21 percentage points higher than those who were interested in the program, but did not receive a scholarship and more than 30 percentage points higher than the graduation rates of D.C. Public Schools.  Taking into account that 87 percent of this year’s participating students identify themselves as black and 11 percent identify has Hispanic or Latino, the graduation rates for students currently in the program will go far beyond the dismal national rates.
  • In Milwaukee, a “gold standard” evaluation found that the on-time graduation rate for students in the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program was 7.2 percentage points higher than the graduation rate of students in Milwaukee Public Schools.
This New York research is particularly poignant since the Schott Foundation’s report showed that New York has the worst graduation rate for black males—at only 37 percent.

The reality is that the graduation rates of minority children are far behind those of white students.  The answer is not to set low standards, but to offer educational options for students to access great schools today.

- American Federation for Children | Alliance for School Choice, MSG

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