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Ohio Near Bottom For African American High School Grad Rates

New data from the federal government puts Ohio in the middle of the pack when it comes to high school graduation rates. Ohio’s graduation rate stands at 80 percent. However, a demographic breakdown of the data shows Ohio is failing certain populations. When it comes to high school graduation, Ohio ranked right in the middle of other states and Washington DC for the 2010 -2011 school year. Eight out of ten students finished high school in four years. But a deeper look into the numbers shows some troubling statistics. When it comes to African American students, just five states and the District of Columbia had worse graduation rates than Ohio. Michael Sawyers is Ohio’s interim superintendent of public instruction. “The results for the African-American population and I would also include the students who are limited English proficient from my perspective are unacceptable and somewhat disheartening," says Sawyers. Among Ohio African-American students, 59 percent graduated last year. Fifty-three percent of Ohio students with a limited English proficiency got their diplomas. As part of the state’s Race to the Top federal grant program, Ohio met the goal of increasing its graduation rate. But Sawyer says that bar was set pretty low, a 2 percent increase over four years. Now the state is working once again to raise its overall graduation rate, this time by a loftier goal of ten percent.