L.A. Unified Makes Gains in Graduation Rates

Latino and black students improve, but still lag behind whites and Asians.

By City News Service

The dropout rate among Los Angeles Unified School District students in the high school class of 2012-13 dipped by 3 percent compared to the previous year, while the graduation rate rose slightly, according to figures released Monday.

The dropout rate among LAUSD students who began ninth grade together in 2009-10 was 17.3 percent, according to the state Department of Education. That was down from the 20.3 percent rate for the class of 2011-12.

The graduation rate for students in the class of 2012-13 was 67.9 percent, up from 66.6 percent from the previous year, according to the state.

“Despite a series of budget cuts that have had a devastating impact on the LAUSD, we saw once again this past year a rise in the percentage of high school graduates,” Superintendent John Deasy said. “I commend teachers, administrators and parents for their amazing dedication to ensure that more of our students leave the LAUSD prepared for college and career.”

LAUSD board member Monica Garcia said the district had a 48 percent graduation rate just six years ago.

“Graduation is an important indicator for our district because it is the achievement our students and families expect when they partner with this district,” Garcia said. “We are encouraged by greater investment this year by the state in our schools and we implore state leadership to do all they can to support our youth and our schools. We have much work to do.”

Statewide, the graduation rate climbed for the fourth year in a row, according to state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson.

A total of 80.2 percent of the state’s students who started high school in 2009-10 graduated with their class in 2013, a 1.3 percent increase than the previous year’s class.

“For the first time in our state’s history, more than 80 percent of our students are graduating – a clear sign of their hard work and the support they receive from their teachers, families and communities,” Torlakson said.

“We are continuing toward our goal of graduating 100 percent of our students with the skills and knowledge they will need to succeed.”

The report also showed a statewide decrease in the dropout rate. Of the students who started high school in 2009-10, 11.6 percent dropped out, a 1.5 percent dip from the previous year.

The district’s overall graduation rate increased 1.4 points to 66.2 percent, with the rate for Latino students climbing from 63.1 to 65.5 percent, the state reported. At the same time, Los Angeles Unified’s dropout rate fell from 22.6 to 20.3 percent.

The statewide graduation rate also increased 1.4 points, to 78.5 percent, the state said. The rate for Latinos increased 1.8 points to 73.2 percent, while 65.7 percent of African American students graduated, a jump of nearly 3 percentage points.

Statewide dropout rates improved by 1.5 percent, with 13.2 of those who started high school in 2008-09 leaving before they received a diploma. Among African-American students, 22.2 percent dropped out, down 3.1 points. An estimated 16.2 percent of Latinos dropped out, down 2.1 points from the prior year.

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May 1, 2014  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

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