Hispanic graduation rates still lagging behind

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    Graduation rate

    Only in Maine and Hawaii were Latinos more likely to graduate than non-Hispanic whites. Those states reported an 87 percent and 79 percent graduation rate among Latino youths respectively. (Shutterstock Photo)

    Hispanic students are less likely to receive high school diplomas than their non-Hispanic white and Asian counterparts in 48 states, according to the latest U.S. Department of Education study.

    Only in Maine and Hawaii were Latinos more likely to graduate than non-Hispanic whites. Those states reported an 87 percent and 79 percent graduation rate among Latino youths respectively.

    Meanwhile, the two states with the largest Latino student populations lagged behind, with California recording a 70 percent graduation rate among Hispanics and Texas an 82 percent rate.

    Only 58 percent of Hispanics were graduating from Florida high schools, according to the study, while 69 percent of Latino students were graduating from New York schools.

    Puerto Rico was not included in the report.

    Officials said that the latest findings were recorded through a new measuring technique that they believed to be more accurate than what has been used in the past.

    The study was based on the 2010-11 academic year—the first year for which all states used a common measure.

    “By using this new measure, states will be more honest in holding schools accountable and ensuring that students succeed,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “Ultimately, these data will help states target support to ensure more students graduate on time, college and career ready.”

    In Texas, the increase in Latino student graduation rates appear to be linked to the state allowing undocumented students to go to college with  in-state tuition rates after they have graduated from high school.

    Texas is the first state to adopt such a policy.

    Minnesota had the lowest Hispanic graduation rate with 51 percent, and Nevada was the second-worst with 53 percent.

    “The varying methods formerly used by states to report graduation rates made comparisons between states unreliable, while the new, common metric can be used by states, districts and schools to promote greater accountability and to develop strategies that will reduce dropout rates and increase graduation rates in schools nationwide,” the report said.

    Officials said the 2010-11 graduation rates are preliminary, state-reported data, and final rates will be released in the coming months.

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