California Graduation Rate Near Bottom Third of States

Thursday, November 29, 2012

A new national standard for gauging high school graduation numbers is adding yet another subpar assessment of California accomplishments compared to other states.

The U.S. Department of Education ranked California 32nd out of 50 states and the District of Columbia for 2010-11 based on a uniform metric that replaces the variety of measurements used by states. The new method also more accurately measures students who drop out or don’t earn a regular high school diploma.

California’s graduation rate was 76%, which tied them with Utah, Washington and West Virginia. Iowa topped the list at 88% and D.C. checked in last at 59%. There was broad disparity between racial and ethnic groups within California. Asian/Pacific Islander had the most success, with an 89% graduation rate, followed by White (80%), Hispanic/Latino (70%), Native Americans (68%), Multicultural (65%) and Black (63%).

The States Project—a joint effort of Harvard University’s Institute of Politics, the University of Pennsylvania's Fels Institute of Government and the American Education Foundation—had more bad news for the state.

Using data it gathered from a multitude of sources, the project rated the states on five basic issues of governance and combined them into a single “Best Fundamentals” category.

California ranked 42rd, dragged down by a 49th ranking in the cost of borrowing. The state was 30th in economic opportunity, 35th in health and wellness and 33rd in total state debt as a percentage of gross state product. State debt included unfunded pension liabilities. Numbers were not immediately unavailable for the fifth category, educational achievement.

–Ken Broder  


To Learn More:

California Ranks in Bottom Half of States in Graduation Rate (by Stephen Ceasar, Los Angeles Times)

States Report New High School Graduation Rates Using More Accurate, Common Measure (U.S. Department of Education)

California State Snapshot (U.S. Department of Education)

Graduation Rates (U.S. Department of Education) (pdf)

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