About 71 percent of California’s high school students graduated “on time” in 2008, after four years — 3.7 percentage points below the national average, according to a set of sobering numbers brought to you by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics. (Page 5)
If you break the California numbers down by ethnicity, the disparities leap off the page: 57 percent of black students in the Class of 2008 graduated on time, compared to 61 percent of Latino students, 91 percent of Asian students and 80 percent of white students. (Page 7)
The state’s black students left school early at the highest rate: 9 percent dropped out in 2007-08, compared to 6 percent of Latino students, 2 percent of Asian students, and 3 percent of white students that year. (Page 15)
Five-year trends: California’s on-time high school graduation rate dropped about 5 percentage points between 2003 and 2008; it took a huge dive between 2005 and 2006, the year the high school exit exam requirement took effect, and has inched up since. (Page 9) The dropout rate, 5 percent for all high school students in 2008, increased from 3.2 percent in 2003, though it declined slightly from 2007. (Page 17)
Did any of these figures come as a surprise?