New study finds dip in California high school graduation rates

A local high school in the Los Angeles Unified School District.
A local high school in the Los Angeles Unified School District.
waltarrrrr/Flickr CC

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A new study by an East Coast-based education think tank has found a significant dip in California’s high school graduation rates.

The study was conducted by the Editorial Projects and Education Research Center, a think tank affiliated with the highly regarded publication Education Week. The study made use of current data, researcher Sterling Lloyd said. It found that 63 percent of California teens expected to graduate in 2007 actually did. That’s about five percent lower than a decade before.

"It represents a large number of students. In fact it’s the third largest decline of any state in the nation in that time frame. By comparison, graduation rates increased by about three percentage points nationally over that period," Lloyd said.

California’s graduation rate is 6 percent lower than the national average. Lloyd said poverty and its effects are the common denominator among dropouts. He added that his study’s graduation rates are more accurate than those the California Department of Education tallies, because state officials don’t track all students who leave public schools.

California education officials are trying to fix that with a massive student data system called CALPADS. But in recent months the state has had trouble getting the system up and running.