The Racial Gap in Traditional High School Completion Rates

New data from the U.S. Department of Education shows that nationwide 77.8 percent of Black students who entered grade 9 in the fall of 2013, earned a traditional high school diploma in the traditional four-year time period ending in the spring of 2017. For Whites, 88.6 percent of students earned their high school diploma in four years.

The new data also breaks down the statistics by state. The highest Black student high school graduation rate was in the state of Alabama. There, 86.5 percent of Black students graduated within four years, compared to 91 percent of White students. In Texas, 86.1 percent of Black students earned their high school diploma in the traditional four-year period compared to 93.6 eprcent of White students. Maryland was the only other state that had a Black student graduation rate above 85 percent.

The lowest high school graduation rate for Blacks was in the state of Minnesota. There, 64 percent of Black students graduated from high school within four years. For White students in Minnesota, the graduation rate was 88.1 percent. The other states where the Black student high school graduation rate was below 70 percent are Wisconsin, Oregon, Ohio, New Mexico, Nevada, and Michigan.

Wisconsin had the largest racial gap in high school graduation rates of 25.7 percentage points. The White rate was 92.7 percent and the Black rate was 67 percent. There were no states where the Black graduation rate exceeded the White rate. In Hawaii, the racial gap between Blacks and Whites was only one percentage point.


Comments (3)

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  1. Jerald L Henderson, Ph.D. says:

    I think this data indicates the continuing need for educational intervention at the postsecondary level. The racial disparities in high school graduation rates remain a challenge.

    • Tim Jones says:

      Jerald L. Henderson,
      We have to also take into account the “Social Promotiom” that is continually practiced at public schools. Teachers simply don’t want to deal with unruly students so they are past along to the next grade level without mastery of subject content. Even if graduation rates are high for blacks in the Alabama, the state’s education system is likely subpar compared to public schools in the northeast where a fewer % of black students graduate.

  2. Tom Washington, PhD says:

    The profoundly destructive racism which is at the root of that statistic is alive and well today and has prevented me from helping to rectify that form of injustice for the past thirty-seven years. The modern language teaching method in all high schools, colleges, universities, and adult education classes is inherently and profoundly defective and confusing. This severely and unnecessarily complicates the learning process for all students and completely blocks this for a very large percentage. This is especially destructive for minority youth. I helped to develop a superior language teaching PSYCHO GENERATIVE which helps kids of all levels of ability do well in the classroom. If one child in a family learns Spanish with the PSYCHO-GENERATIVE method, s/he can teach what they have learned to their siblings, parents, and friends—-and most of the latter will be able to test out of a first level Spanish course!!! This i can readily prove.

    Tom Washington, PhD

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