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Education Lab Blog

Education Lab is a yearlong project to spark meaningful conversations about education solutions in the Pacific Northwest.

June 6, 2014 at 5:00 AM

U.S. graduation average improves, but with wide racial disparities

US graduation rates graphic

Screen grab from the Education Week report

As high schools graduate students across the region this spring, parents may be wondering how Washington stacks up against other states. A handy interactive map published by Education Week shows six years of graduation rates, state-by-state, ending with the Class of 2012.

For the first time in American history, the national graduation rate hit 81 percent, meaning that more than eight in 10 students completed high school with a diploma.

Washington state, with a published graduation rate of 79 percent in 2012, hovers just below that milestone. (And the rate dipped in 2013, to 76 percent, according to data from the state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.)

But when rates are examined by racial or ethnic groups, wide disparities appear.

Among Washington’s class of 2013, for instance, 84 percent of Asian students graduated on time, compared with 65.4 percent of black students. Whites landed in the middle, at 79.4 percent.

One troubling but little discussed indicator is the rate for kids in foster care – only 36.6 percent of whom left high school with a diploma in four years, a rate worse than that for homeless youths.

Comments | More in News | Topics: graduation rates, race

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