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New Statistics for Hispanic Students Show Reasons for Both Celebration and Concern

By Marilyn Garateix
Latino Ed Beat

The National Center for Education Statistics this month released a congressionally mandated annual report summarizing development and trends in education. The 2017 Condition of Education reports some of the latest data by race and ethnicity.

Here are a few highlights of the report:

ENROLLMENT: The percentage of Hispanic students who enrolled in public elementary and secondary schools between 2004 and 2014 increased from 19 to 25 percent. At the same time, the percentage of white students enrolled was less than 50 percent (49.5 percent) for the first time, a decrease from 58 percent in the fall of 2004.

POVERTY: In school year 2014–15, nearly half of Hispanic students attended high-poverty schools. In contrast, 17 percent of students of two or more races, 15 percent of Asian students, and 8 percent of white students attended high-poverty schools.

ACHIEVEMENT GAP: That a gap existed was clear on the 2014 National Assessment of Educational Progress  test of Technology and Engineering Literacy: The percentage of 8th-grade Hispanic students who performed at or above the proficient level was 28 percent. Black students scored the lowest at 18 percent while white and Asian students each scored 56 percent.

GRADUATION: In school year 2014–15, the high school graduation rate for Hispanic students rose to 78 percent. Overall, the graduation rate for public high school students rose to 83 percent, the highest rate since the measure was first collected in 2010–11. It meant that more than 4 out of 5 students graduated with a regular high school diploma within four years of starting 9th grade.

But between 2000 and 2015 the Hispanic dropout rate decrease by 18.6 percentage points but, at 9.2 percent, the Hispanic dropout rate remained higher than the black dropout rate of 6.5 percent and white dropout rate of 4.6 percent. Overall, the dropout rate decreased from 10.9 percent in 2000 to 5.9 percent in 2015.

Marilyn Garateix, a freelance journalist, has been an education editor at The Boston Globe and The Tampa Bay Times.

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