The Education Trust-West works for the high academic achievement of all students at all levels, pre-k through college.

Latest Graduation Data Reveal an Ongoing Crisis for California’s Highest Need Students

Latest Graduation Data Reveal an Ongoing Crisis for California’s Highest Need Students

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Contact: Eric Wagner (510) 465-6444, ext 318; Email: ewagner@edtrustwest.org

Despite Appalling Statewide Trends, Ed Trust—West Analysis Finds Examples of High Schools Graduating High Numbers of African-American and Latino Students  

Publication date: 
June 27 2012

OAKLAND, CA (June 27, 2012) – For the second year in a row, the California Department of Education (CDE) has released accurate and transparent graduation and dropout rate data thanks to the state’s use of CALPADS, the California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System. The data once again reveal that California’s schools are graduating Latino, African-American, and low-income students at alarmingly low rates.
 

  • The data show that three out of four (76%) of our state’s students are graduating from high school in four years.
  • Sadly, the news is far worse for the state’s African-American, Latino, and low-income students, who graduate from high school at abysmally low rates—63% and 70%, respectively.
  • Education outcomes for students of color, students with disabilities, low-income students, and English learners, whose needs and potential are often overlooked, are particularly disturbing when compared with the graduation rates of their more advantaged peers. For example, California’s white students graduate at a rate of 86% and Asian students at a rate of 90%.

“Even though these rates are improving, at the rate California is going, it will take us 13 years to close the graduation gap between Latino and African-American students and their white peers,” said Arun Ramanathan, Executive Director of The Education Trust—West, a statewide education civil rights organization. “Every high school dropout is an individual tragedy. Tens of thousands of dropouts represent a large scale-tragedy for the California economy and our state’s future prosperity. It’s time we stopped talking about this problem and invested in the strategies that top districts and schools are using to fix it.”

In spite of these overall statewide trends, the data reveal districts with better results for Latino and African-American students.

  • In 2010-11, Castro Valley Unified (Alameda County) graduated 94% of their Latino students, while in Sanger Unified (Fresno County) and West Covina Unified (Los Angeles County), 95% of their Latino students graduated in four years.
  • In ABC Unified (Los Angeles County), 90% of their African-American students graduated in four years. Corona-Norco Unified (Riverside County) posted similarly high graduation rates for their African-American students (88%), and Clovis Unified (Fresno County) graduated 93% of their African-American students.

The data also reveal high schools throughout California with similar strong results for African-American and Latino students, a few of which were recently highlighted in The Education Trust—West report, Repairing the Pipeline: A Look at the Gaps in California’s High School to College Transition. There are a number of high schools serving high proportions of Latino students (more than 65%) with high graduation rates in 2010-11.

  • At Calipatria High School in Calipatria Unified School District 91% of Latino students graduated in four years.
  • Imperial High in Imperial Unified School District graduated 98% of their Latino graduates.
  • At Southwest High in Central Union High School District, 89% of Latino students graduated in four years.

Our analysis also found high schools serving high proportions of African-American students (more than 15%) with high graduation rates in 2010-11.

  • Rancho Cucamonga High School and Etiwanda High School, both in Chaffey Joint Union High School District had high African-American graduation rates of 88% and 91% respectively.
  • Kearny Digital Media and Design School, a Linked Learning model in San Diego Unified, graduated 89% of their low-income students, and 83% of their African-American students.   
  • Arthur Benjamin Health Professions High School, a Linked Learning model in Sacramento City Unified, with an African-American student population of nearly 30%, graduated 92% of their African-American students.

“These districts and schools reveal that our statewide results are not inevitable. We know that approaches such as Linked Learning that tie college rigor to career relevancy; investments in credit recovery; and strong counseling supports are critical to fixing this crisis. Yet, these are the very supports that many districts have cut over the past several years. Our high school accountability system must include graduation rates, dropout rates, and college and career readiness metrics for low-income students and students of color. This would incentivize schools and districts to ensure that all of their students graduate from high school prepared to succeed in college and career.” 

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About The Education Trust—West

The Education Trust—West works for the high academic achievement of all students at all levels, pre-k through college. We expose opportunity and achievement gaps that separate students of color and low-income students from other youth, and we identify and advocate for the strategies that will forever close those gaps.