Best and Worst States: High School Graduation Rates
For the first time ever, new data details just how many students are not graduating high school in each state.
The data, released by the Department of Education, measures high school graduation rates by how many ninth graders graduate with a standard diploma within four years. The 2010-2011 results reveal that the achievement gap is more shocking than was originally thought.
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said, “By using this new measure, states will be more honest in holding schools accountable and ensuring that students succeed. Ultimately these data will help states target support to ensure more students graduate on time, college and career.”
Click through the gallery to see which states have the worst high school graduation rates in the country and which have the best.
Photo: Brian Synder/Reuters
4. Tennessee (One of the 5 Best)
Tennessee graduated 86 percent of students and was one of six states (Indiana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota and Texas) tied for fourth place.
We chose to highlight Tennessee because it has the country's highest high school graduation rates for Native American students, with 89 percent receiving a diploma.
Photo: jbcurio/Creative Commons via Flickr
4. (tied) Texas (One of the 5 Best)
Texas graduated 86 percent of its students. The state is also one of the six schools tied for fourth place. It boasted the highest Latino and Black high school graduation rates, at 82 percent and 81 percent, respectively.
2. Wisconsin (One of the 5 Best)
High school graduation rates in Wisconsin are second to one with 87 percent of students receiving their diploma. The state graduated 72 percent of Latino students and 67 percent of students with disabilities (IDEA students).
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2. (tied) Vermont (One of the 5 Best)
Vermont graduated 87 percent of students. In 2010 -2011, the state had the highest high school graduation rates among limited English proficient (LEP) students.
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1. Iowa (The Best)
Iowa graduated 88 percent of students. Every major racial and ethnic group had high school graduation rates over 73 percent.
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47. Oregon (One of the 5 Worst)
Oregon graduated 68 percent of students. The state had the fifth worst high school graduation rates in the country, and the lowest graduation rate among white students at only 70 percent.
Photo: OregonDOT/Creative Commons via Flickr
48. Georgia (One of the 5 Worst)
Georgia's high school graduation rates were low, with only 67 percent of students earning a diploma. A disappointing 30 percent of children with disabilities graduated from Georgia’s schools, and only 32 percent of children with limited English proficiency received a diploma.
Photo: dno1967b/Creative Commons via Flickr
49. New Mexico (One of the 5 Worst)
New Mexico graduated 67 percent of students. The state's high school graduation rates are low across the board. Only 56 percent of Native American, 59 percent of Latino, and 60 percent of black students graduated in 2011.
Photo: rutlo/Creative Commons via Flickr
50. Nevada (One of the 5 Worst)
Nevada graduated 62 percent of its students. The state had the lowest high school graduation rates for children with disabilities (IDEA students) at 23 percent, and those with limited English proficiency at 29 percent.
Their graduation rate among black students is also a national low at 43 percent.
Photo: A Gude/Creative Commons via Flickr
It’s not a State but...The Bureau of Indian Education
The Bureau of Indian Education is included in the Department of Education’s report. According to the Bureau of Indian Education website, they are “responsible for educating approximately 41,051 American Indian and Alaska Native children at 183 elementary and secondary schools on 64 reservations in 23 states.”
Despite only serving the Native American population, they have the lowest high school graduation rates for Native American students in the country at 61 percent.
Photo: Minneapolis Bureau of Indian Education
51. The District of Columbia (The Worst)
The fiscal cliff isn't the biggest problem in Washington, DC.
The District of Columbia has the worst high school graduation rates in the country, graduating a mere 59 percent of students.
Despite the District of Columbia State Board of Education being only 1.4 miles (a walk through the capital building) from Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s office, Washington, D.C. ranked dead last in national graduation rates at 59 percent. D.C. boasts the largest disparity in the country between white students and minority students who graduated during the 2010-2011 school year. Eighty-five percent of white students graduated, while only 55 percent of Latinos and 58 percent of black students earned their diploma.
Photo: Rambling Traveler/Creative Commons via Flickr
Andrew Freeman is a California native with a degree in history from UCLA. He’s covered a wide range of topics for TakePart, but is particularly interested in politics and policy. Email Andrew |@natureofdabeast | TakePart.com