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CDE: Dropout numbers drop, high school graduate numbers grow in California

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California is making some progress in graduation rates as the overall number of high school dropouts drop.

The California Department of Education reports Wednesday that slightly more high school students graduated in 2011 than the year before, and fewer students dropped out.

More than 76 percent of students statewide earned their high school diplomas, marking a 1.5 percent increase from the 2010 graduation rate, said Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson.

The increase, Torlakson says, was higher for Hispanic, black and English learner students — just over 2 percent for black and Hispanic, and nearly 4 percent for English learners.

Meanwhile, overall dropout rate for the state — which does not include students who drop out before ninth grade — decreased by 2 percent.

The biggest decrease was seen in English learners - 4 percent fewer dropped out, while 2 percent and 3 percent fewer Hispanic and black students left school, respectively.

Rick de la Toree, a spokesman with the L.A. County Office of Education, said that high school dropout rates have continued to decrease in the county among all student groups.

According to L.A. County data, overall 2011 dropout rate in the county was 15.7 percent, compared to a 18.9 percent dropout rate in 2010. Also, graduation rates have increased 1.1 percentage points from the 2010 graduation rate — 71.6 percentof students who started high school in 2007 graduated with their class in 2011. 

The L.A. County graduation rate for African American students increased by 4.1 percentage points, surpassing the statewide increase of 2.3 percentage points when compared to 2010.

With contributions by Tami Abdollah

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