Black High School Students’ Drop Out Rate Four Times Higher Than Whites

By Zenitha Prince

( — Black students are four times more likely than their white peers to drop out of high school, according to data recently released by the U.S. Department of Education. According to the report, which examined trends in high school dropout and completion rates nationwide, during the 2012 school year 3.4 percent of all students ages 15 to 24 left high school without gaining a diploma or an alternative credential, such as a GED.

This dropout rate doubled among African-American students, 6.8 percent of whom enrolled in high school that year but dropped out without receiving their diploma. Among non-Hispanic white students, that same rate was 1.6 percent. The average national dropout rate in 2012 represented a downward trend from 6.1 percent in 1972. For whites, the dropout rate of 1.6 percent was at its lowest point in 40 years.

For blacks, however, 2012 saw the highest dropout rate since 2005. In more positive news, among African Americans the status dropout rate—the percentage of individuals ages 16 through 24 who are not currently enrolled in school and lack a high school diploma or similar credential—has steadily declined since 1972. In 2012, the status dropout rate among blacks was 7.5 percent, compared to 4.3 percent among whites. However, the black status dropout rate was the second lowest it had been since 1972, when it stood at 22.2 percent.

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