An Alarming Increase in Black High School Dropouts

Last week, JBHE reported that the percentage of all black youths in the 16- to 24-year-old age bracket who did not have a high school diploma or its equivalent had been cut in half since 1972. This is solid good news. But the most recent data for 2005 shows that the high school dropout rate is on the increase.  

In the year that spanned October 2004 to October 2005, 7.3 percent of all black youths in the 15 to 24 age bracket dropped out of high school grades 10 through 12 in that particular period. For whites, only 2.8 percent of all youths in that age group dropped out of school that particular year. Therefore, in the most current year for which there are statistics, blacks were 2.6 times as likely as whites to drop out of high school.

The dropout rate for blacks in the 2004-05 year was at the highest level since 1989. The fact that in 2004-05 blacks were 2.6 times as likely to drop out of high school as whites is the largest racial gap in more than 35 years.