Blacks in Berkeley Are Beating National High School Graduation Rate
California educators have found that African-American students are graduating from high school in the city of Berkeley at a much higher rate than the national average. “Almost 76 percent of Black students successfully completed high school compared to the national average of just 55.3 percent,” according to BET News. In addition, Latinos in the city fare much better with an 82% graduation rate that even exceeds the overall area statistic of 81%.
While this is great news, state leaders also note that:
The graduation rates for Berkeley’s African-American and Hispanic/Latino students are much better than the rate for the county or the state. However, there is still a gap that persists between African-American and Hispanic/Latino students and their White and Asian peers both in graduation and dropout rates. “While we are doing better than the state and county in terms of graduation and dropout rates, there are still far too many students missing out. Now, more than ever, our students need to be in school and get a high school diploma,” said William Huyett, Berkeley’s Superintendent.
Currently, black teens face the highest unemployment rate in the country, hovering at around 40%. The importance of education to battle challenges such as this is high. It’s great that Berkeley’s superintendent has the necessary humility to realize that in the larger scope of society, there is still much work to do — particularly if black teens in general are to overcome beyond this tiny demographic.
By comparison, nearby Oakland has the highest drop out rate in the region for blacks at 38.6%. This shows that while Berkley has much reason to applaud its success, there is much knowledge sharing and analysis that must take place if other municipalities are going to try to replicate their positive trend. The statement promoted by Berkeley educators does not delineate the reasons for the higher than average black high school graduation rate. Therein lies the problem.
At a time like this, holding on to information like this — or not taking the time to discern and share it — makes a celebration of such a success merely a self-love fest. It’s wonderful that Berkeley educators made this breakthrough, but they need to facilitate its replication to make it meaningful to blacks nationwide.