Blog: Latino Ed Beat

High School Graduation Rate for Latinos Is Improving, Report Says

The Latino high school graduation rate  increased by 5.5 percentage points between 2008 and 2009 –to 63 percent for the Class of 2009–according to a new analysis by the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center. The figures were unveiled this week in Education Week’s annual “Diplomas Count” report, which focuses on Latino students this year.

The publication pegged the overall national graduation rate at 73.4 percent in 2009, an increase for the second year in a row. Researchers attributed the rise in part to “impressive gains” made by Hispanics. But Latinos still fall significantly behind the national average.

If you scroll to the bottom of this link, you can see how Latinos are faring from state to state on graduation rates. Some notable states for Latino graduation rates include Texas (64.4 percent), California (63 percent), Florida (72.6 percent), Arizona (64 percent), Illinois (61.5 percent), New Mexico (62.3 percent) and New York (57.9 percent).

The research center also identified 38 majority-Hispanic school districts that are performing particularly well with Latino students, and ranked the Lompoc Unified School District in Southern California at the top of the list.

EPE also noted that about 37 percent of the Latinos not graduating in the class of 2012 are projected to come from just 25 school districts. It dubs them “dropout epicenters,” and pegs the Los Angeles school system as the system losing the most Latino students.

The group calculates its rates using the Cumulative Promotion Index, which takes into account students’ movement through the grades beginning as high school freshmen.

The report also mentions efforts by New Jersey to improve pre-K access of 3- and 4-year-olds. I contributed a story about the particular challenges Latinas face.

The Miami-Dade school system is highlighted as being particularly successful with Latino students. Education Week is hosting a webinar with Miami-Dade administrators who oversee bilingual education services on Tuesday, June 12 at 2 p.m. ET.