WALTERS: High school grad rates tell a sad tale
Published: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 3:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 10:39 p.m.
Let’s assume, for sake of argument or column-writing, that the fundamental task of any public school system is to maximize the number of students who graduate from high school and are ready to either enter the workforce or further their educations.
Thanks to a new report from the U.S. Department of Education, which for the first time provides state-by-state comparisons of graduation rates on common criteria, we now know where California ranks
Drilling into the data provides very strong clues as to why California fares so poorly.
Dig a little deeper and another aspect of the situation emerges. California teens with
California has the nation’s most ethnically diverse population. Nearly 60 percent of its 6 million K-12 students are either Latino (51-plus percent) or black (7 percent), and about 13 percent of those in high school are
Is the answer more money? California spends $62 billion a year on schools, or just over $10,000 per student. That’s somewhat below the national average, although not as low as often depicted, and very close to what much-smaller North Dakota spends. But its graduation rate is 86 percent, 10 points higher than California’s.
So education may need more money, but it should be concentrated on helping Latino, black and English learner students, whether in public schools or charter school alternatives.
Gov. Jerry Brown wants a
Dan Walters is a columnist for the Sacramento Bee.
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