Wednesday, July 30, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

State graduation rates only middling

walters column sig

By
From page A8 | December 04, 2012 |

Let’s assume, for sake of argument or column writing, that the fundamental task of any public school system is to maximize the number of students who graduate from high school and are ready to either enter the work force or further their educations.

Thanks to a new report from the U.S. Department of Education, which for the first time provides state-by-state comparisons of graduation rates on common criteria, we now know where California ranks – and it isn’t very high.

Just 76 percent of our high schoolers graduate, putting us 32nd in the nation, roughly on a par with most Southern states. Iowa is the highest at 88 percent, and the District of Columbia is lowest at 59 percent.

Drilling into the data provides strong clues as to why California fares so poorly.

Our Asian and Pacific Islander students are on a par with students in Iowa at 89 percent, followed by white students at 85 percent, but Latinos have only a 70 percent graduation rate and black students just 63 percent.

Dig a little deeper and another aspect of the situation emerges. California teens with “limited English proficiency” have just a 51 percent graduation rate.

California has the nation’s most ethnically diverse population. Nearly 60 percent of its 6 million K-12 students are either Latino (51-plus percent) or black (7 percent), and about 13 percent of those in high school are “English learners.”

Local school systems with large percentages of Latino and black students and/or those with limited English proficiency have below-par graduation outcomes. Los Angeles Unified has more than 10 percent of the state’s public school students, its students are more than 80 percent Latino and black, and its graduation rate barely tops 60 percent.

Is the answer more money?

California spends $62 billion a year on schools, or just over $10,000 per student. That’s somewhat below the national average, although not as low as often depicted, and very close to what much-smaller North Dakota spends. But North Dakota’s graduation rate is 86 percent, 10 points higher than California’s.

North Dakota, of course, is also the polar opposite of California in demographic terms with an overwhelmingly white, English-speaking population. And its white, Asian and Pacific Island students have graduation rates very similar to their California counterparts.

So education may need more money, but it should be concentrated on helping Latino, black and English learner students, whether in public schools or charter school alternatives.

Gov. Jerry Brown wants a “weighted formula” that would direct much of the new money being generated by Proposition 30 toward students with the most learning deficiencies, but there will be great resistance to such change.

Dan Walters is a columnist for the Sacramento Bee. Reach him at dwalters@sacbee.com.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

Solano County Fair set to open Wednesday

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Marketing study looks at Berryessa resorts

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
Activity is Medicine program coming to Suisun senior center

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

Library teens plan summer reading party

By Glen Faison | From Page: A3

 
Fairfield tries to end Cordelia Road detour

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3, 15 Comments | Gallery

Caltrans makes I-80 lane change

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3, 5 Comments

 
Police arrest suspected intruder

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3, 6 Comments | Gallery

 
 
Big-rig crash shuts down freeway onramp

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
Big-rig driver strikes telephone lines in Fairfield

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A6, 5 Comments | Gallery

 
‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ primed for big screen

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
Icon sends first A5 into the skies on maiden flight

By Susan Winlow | From Page: B7

Fairfield police log: July 28, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: July 28, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

Fairfield police log: July 27, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: June 27, 2014

By Glen Faison | From Page: A12

Weather for Wedneday, July 30, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B14

 
.

US / World

Hamas demands for cease-fire and Israel’s concerns

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 1 Comment

 
Israel hits symbols of Hamas rule; scores killed

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

Fist bumps less germy than handshakes, study says

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2, 3 Comments | Gallery

 
New California fines for wasting water take effect

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

California lifeguard injured by lightning improves

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
PG&E charged with obstruction over San Bruno blast

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Chevron California refinery overhaul up for vote

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
4 charged with murder in death of USC student

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

Crews make gains on 2 California wildfires

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8 | Gallery

 
Tuberculosis patient who refused care is arrested

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8 | Gallery

Last crew member of Enola Gay dies in Georgia

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9

 
Poll: Immigration concerns rise with tide of kids

By The Associated Press | From Page: A9 | Gallery

Shelling adds to mounting civilian toll in Ukraine

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
US, Europe impose tough new sanctions on Russia

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

Generation of tanners see spike in deadly melanoma

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12, 1 Comment

 
Senate confirms McDonald as VA secretary

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12 | Gallery

Body of young stowaway found in US cargo plane

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
Report: Health premiums rose significantly in 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

Highway, bridge money at risk: Senate to vote

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
Senate bill would end NSA phone records collection

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

Liberians in US worry about Ebola outbreak

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
Top doctor dies from Ebola after treating dozens

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13, 1 Comment

.

Opinion

Red light camera fate now uncertain in state

By Thomas Elias | From Page: A11

 
Obscure state agency creates big money problems

By Dan Walters | From Page: A11

Some people have missed the drought memo

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 15 Comments

 
What kids don’t know would shock you

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 26 Comments

 
Cemetery support committee thanks sponsors

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11

.

Living

Today in History for July 30, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: July 30, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

What to do when ‘it’ hits the fan

By Barton Goldsmith | From Page: A2

 
Horoscopes for July 30, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

I like Liam, but I think he’s interested in another girl

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B5

 
A do-ahead dinner to make back-to-school smoother

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

You too can bake artisanal quality bread at home

By Elizabeth Karmel | From Page: B6

 
A healthy afterschool snack that eats like a treat

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

.

Entertainment

‘Sharknado’ sequel has bite and lots of laughs

By Frazier Moore | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

Music aside, Queen of Soul is pumped for fair food

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Sarah Palin launches online subscription channel

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7, 2 Comments | Gallery

.

Sports

Fairfield Indians blank Next Level Athletic to win SRL tournament title

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
NCAA settles head-injury suit, will change rules

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

49ers WR Brandon Lloyd enjoying return to NFL

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Schaub settles in as Raiders starting QB

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
49ers sign former Cardinals RB Alfonso Smith

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Vin Scully to return for 66th season in LA in 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Mudcats tie Vacaville Admirals

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

No joke: Kings’ Cousins hopes for Team USA shot

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Liriano fans 11 in Pirates’ 3-1 win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Athletics rally for 6 runs in 9th, beat Astros 7-4

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Husband arrested in death of NBA player’s aunt

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Triple-A brawl results in 11 suspensions

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Broken water main floods UCLA; 5 people rescued

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
This date in sports history for Wednesday, July 30, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

.

Business

Study: 35 percent in US facing debt collectors

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
McDonald’s could be liable for labor practices

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Food writers subpoenaed in ‘pink slime’ lawsuit

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Stocks end lower ahead of economic data

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Twitter 2Q results soar, stock flies high

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
.

Obituaries

Patricia Jo McDonald

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Jack L Hudack

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Robert Dale Myers Sr.

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Clifford C. Hemler

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Jeanetta M. Hale

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5