A new report released this week found that the nationwide high school graduation rate was at an all-time high in 2012, where 81% of students who entered high school for the first time graduated within 3 or 4 years. The report notes that significant progress has been made in recent years, with the most significant improvements seen in students of color.
Nevertheless, the report points out that significant gaps have persisted for students of color, economically disadvantaged students, and students with disabilities. In Nebraska, this is a story that is all too familiar.
The overall Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate (ACGR) in Nebraska was well above the national average, at 88% in 2012. As we break down the data by historically underserved groups, however, the narrative of success is far less sunny. In our state, students of color graduated at drastically lower rates than that of their White classmates:
Socioeconomic status, another factor that has consistently affected educational outcomes at every stage of a child’s life, showed similar disparities in our state. In 2012, 36,170 Nebraska high school students failed to graduate on time—nearly 60% of which were low-income students. While non low-income students demonstrated an ACGR of 92%, low-income students only graduated at a rate of 80%.
The report also explored disparities for students requiring special educational needs, including children with disabilities and Limited English Proficient (LEP) students. Once again, the data shows that there is considerable room for improvement in meeting the individual needs of each child in Nebraska:
These numbers from the culmination of a child’s secondary education paint a grim story for our state, but it also tells us that there is much to be done for kids in Nebraska from birth through high school graduation. We can turn to strong, evidence-based practices and interventions to provide families with the supports that they need to raise a happy and healthy child.
Moreover, we know that it is also important to pay attention to where our existing systems continue to leave some kids behind, and to work harder to address those gaps. For more information, check out the latest Race for Results report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, as well as some of our latest insights into racial and ethnic inequity in Nebraska.