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NATION Report eyes high school dropout rates



Published: Sat, January 12, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Cleveland gets a black eye in the graduation study.

NEW YORK -- A new report released by the Manhattan Institute and the Black Alliance for Educational Options shows that more than a quarter of all American public school students from the class of 1998 failed to graduate from high school.

The report shows that almost half of all black and Latino students drop out, as do high percentages of white students in communities across the country.

The report, written by Dr. Jay P. Greene, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, also showed that Cleveland had the lowest overall graduation rate among the nation's 50 largest school districts.

"The results of this study are merely another indication of the disastrous consequences of trapping low income families, mostly of color, in educational systems in which they have no meaningful options," said Kaleem Caire, president of the Black Alliance for Educational Options.

"We believe that it is no coincidence that the movement for greater options in education is gaining strength in precisely those places where graduation rates are embarrassingly low."

Performance indicator: While considerable attention has been devoted to reporting standardized test results, graduation rates are a profoundly important indicator of school performance, the report said.

The median income for people with at least a high school degree is nearly twice as high as for those without one. Less than 1 percent of students admitted to the nation's competitive colleges and universities do not have a high school degree. Students who fail to graduate from high school are significantly more likely to be in prison or on public assistance, and to become single parents and have children at an early age.

The report calculates the graduation rates of all students, white students, black students and Latino students for all 50 states and for the 50 largest school districts.

Tables containing the individual state and district results can be found at www.manhattaninstitute.org/html/cr_baeo.htm

Findings: The study specifically found that:

UThe national graduation rate in 1998 was 74 percent. The graduation rate was 78 percent for white students, 56 percent for black students and 54 percent for Latino students.

ULess than 50 percent of black students graduated in seven states and less than 50 percent of Latino students graduated in eight states, out of 38 states for which there were sufficient data.

UAmong the 50 largest school districts in the country, less than 50 percent of black students graduated in 15 of 45 districts and less than 50 percent of Latino students graduated in 21 of 36 districts for which there were sufficient data.

ULess than 70 percent of white students graduated in eight of 41 states and 17 of 46 districts for which there were sufficient data.

UGeorgia had the lowest overall graduation rate in the nation and the lowest rate for Latino students, while Wisconsin had the lowest rate for blacks.

UIowa had the highest overall graduation rate, while West Virginia had the highest for black students and Montana had the highest for Latino students.

UCleveland had the lowest overall graduation rate among the districts, as well as the lowest rates for black and Latino students.

UFairfax County, Va., had the highest overall graduation rate, while Boston had the highest for black students, and Montgomery County, Md., had the highest for Latinos.




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