Thursday, June 29, 2006

About 75% of students in Virginia's public high schools graduate in four years, but the rates of black students are far below those of whites

Zinie Chen Sampson:

The graduation rate was higher than the national figure of 69.6 percent for the 2002-03 school year, according to the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center.

In Virginia, 77.8 percent of whites graduated, compared with 64.1 percent of blacks. Black male students had the lowest graduation rate, 57.6 percent.

Data for Hispanics and Asians in Virginia weren't reported because the number of students was too small to make reliable estimates, the report said.

Nationally, white students' graduation rate was 76.2 percent, compared with 77 percent for Asian students, 55.6 percent for Hispanic students and 51.6 percent for black students. Black males had a graduation rate of 44.3 percent.

Fairfax County led the nation's 50 largest school divisions with an 82.5 percent graduation rate. Fairfax is Virginia's largest school division and the nation's 14th largest.

Among Virginia's biggest districts, suburban schools fared better than urban ones: Loudoun County had a graduation rate of 94.5 percent, and Stafford County's was 86.6. In Arlington, the rate was 77.6 percent, and Prince William's was 67.1. No figures were available for Alexandria.

Districts' racial and socioeconomic makeup affected graduation rates, with majority-black districts achieving markedly lower rates.

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