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Manhattan Institute

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Public School Graduation Rates in the United States

report

Public School Graduation Rates in the United States

November 2, 2002
EducationPre K-12

The report's main findings are the following:

  • The national graduation rate for the public school class of 2000 was 69%. The rate for white students was 76%; for Asian students it was 79%; for African-American students it was 55%; for Hispanic students it was 53%; and for Native Americans it was 57%.
  • Florida's public schools had the lowest overall graduation rate in the nation with 55% of students graduating, followed by Georgia, the District of Columbia, and Arizona.
  • New Jersey had the highest overall graduation rate with 87%, followed by North Dakota, Utah, and Iowa.
  • Wisconsin had the lowest graduation rate among African-American public school students with 41%, followed by Florida, Oregon, and Tennessee. The highest rate of graduation among African-American students was 74% in West Virginia, followed by Arkansas, Massachusetts, and Virginia.
  • Mississippi had the lowest graduation rate among Hispanic public school students with 23%, followed by New York, Oregon, and Florida. The highest rate of graduation among Hispanic students was 73% in Louisiana, followed by Wyoming, Hawaii, and Virginia.
  • Nebraska had the lowest graduation rate among Native American public school students with 40%, followed by Minnesota, Nevada, and Oregon. The highest rate of graduation among Native American students was 86% in Alabama, followed by Illinois, Oklahoma, and Texas.
  • Graduation rates for African-American, Hispanic, and Native American public school students were particularly low in a number of states; for each group there were six different states with graduation rates below 50%.
  • Rhode Island had the lowest graduation rate among Asian public school students with 66%, followed by Tennessee, Hawaii, and Massachusetts. The highest rate of graduation among Asian students was 95% in Illinois, followed by Missouri, Oklahoma, and Maryland.
  • Florida had the lowest graduation rate among white public school students with 60%, followed by Tennessee, Georgia, and Alaska. The highest rate of graduation among white students was 89% in North Dakota, followed by South Dakota, Nebraska, and Iowa.
  • The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) finds a national high school completion rate of 86.5% for the class of 2000. The discrepancy between the NCES' finding and this report’s finding of a 69% rate is largely caused by NCES' counting recipients of General Educational Development (GED) certificates and other alternate credentials as high school graduates, and by its reliance on a methodology that is likely to undercount dropouts.

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