Smart Students of Color! The Black American High School Graduation Rate Rises

March 18, 2015  |  

A greater share of Black students have thrown their graduation caps into the air after successfully completing their high school studies, according to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics.

From 2011 to 2013, students of color who have graduated high school rose by four percentage points, New York Amsterdam News reports. The data also reveals that Black and Hispanic students are outpacing other groups in terms of growth. The education gap between minority and White students, the report reveals, is narrowing.

“The hard work of America’s educators, families, communities and students is paying off. This is a vital step toward readiness for success in college and careers for every student in this country,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said.

Students are graduating from high school at a higher rate than ever before; between 2011-2012, 81 percent of students earned their diploma — the highest level in the nation’s history.

Still, there is still plenty of room for progress for Black students. The achievement gap between Black and White students closed by only 1.1 percentage points, according to U.S. News & World Report. White students still graduate at a much higher rate than other subgroups at 86.6 percent. The Black high school graduation rate is still hovering at around 71 percent.

“While these gains are promising, we know that we have a long way to go in improving educational opportunities for every student – no matter their zip code – for the sake of our young people and our nation’s economic strength.” Duncan added.

The Department implies that these gains, albeit small, may be a result of its $1 billion investment in programs that help close the achievement gap and expand college accessibility such as “Race to the Top, Investing in Innovation, and School Improvement Grants,” New York Amsterdam News adds.

So what are the next steps that the Department is taking to ensure further a brighter educational future of our nation’s students? A complete overhaul of the No Child Left Behind Act.

“The number of kids in this country who get to be juniors and seniors in high school and think that they’re on track to be successful in college, and they’re not even close, it’s heartbreaking,” Duncan said, according to U.S. News. “It’s absolutely unfair when kids play by all the rules and do all the right things and still find out they’re not anywhere near where they need to be.”

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