Aug 15, 2008

Nearly half of Black students drop out

One in four of all Californians don't finish high school

By Jaquinn Scales

Every year more than 100,000 students fail to graduate from high school, falling through the cracks of a failing California K-12 educational system.
According to a report recently published by the California Department of Education one in four Californians are dropping out of high school. While this number is higher than previous estimates, the number is even more dismal for African American students. Mainstream media outlets often underemphasized or under-reported this traumatic rate.
Two of five Black students drop out of high school, a rate of 41.6%. The data also shows a drop out rate of 30.3% for Latinos, 15.2% for whites and 10.2% for Asians.
The rates are not the result of a completely new crisis, as education spending in California consistently ranks amongst the lowest in the nation, but of a new tracking system. The state’s new tracking system assigns an identification number to every CA public school student. The numbers were issued to students in the fall of 2006.
In the past rates were calculated using formulas and “educated guesses about how many students were graduating and how many were leaving school without a diploma” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connel, who called called the rates for Latinos and Blacks “disturbingly high.”
According to the California Dropout Research Project, California will pay $46 billion every year in increased spending and reduced taxes for every group of yearly dropouts.
“That is why funding for education is so important for our community,” said Black Caucus President Marlene C. Hurd. “Programs like ‘Gateway to College’ give everyone a second chance. We must fight to keep the doors open.”
“By any means necessary.” •H•

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