Graduation rates rise again; Ohio ranks low for black students

Published: Tuesday, December 12, 2017 @ 6:50 AM


            The four-year graduation rate for Ohio public high school students rose to 83.5 percent in 2015-16, the most recent year for which data is available. FILE PHOTO
The four-year graduation rate for Ohio public high school students rose to 83.5 percent in 2015-16, the most recent year for which data is available. FILE PHOTO

High school graduation rates rose both nationally and in Ohio, according to comprehensive 2015-16 data released last week, but concerns remain about the number of students not graduating, and about graduation rates for black students in Ohio.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the nation’s four-year graduation rate for public high school students rose by 1 percent for the fifth straight year, to an all-time high of 84.1 percent.

RELATED: State OKs softer graduation rules for Class of 2018

Ohio’s graduation rate also rose, to 83.5 percent for the Class of 2016, placing Ohio 29th of 50 states and just below the national average. State graduation rates vary for a number of reasons, including different requirements on what courses and tests students have to pass to earn a diploma.

Ohio has been embroiled in a graduation debate for the past few years, as lawmakers and state education officials approved new, tougher tests and standards for the Class of 2018, then softened them last summer when it appeared the graduation rate might drop.

RELATED: State may adjust graduation for 2019 and beyond

Now current high school seniors (the Class of 2018) have alternative routes to a diploma that include good attendance, community service hours and senior projects, as long as they pass their classes. Some say that doesn’t demand enough of students. But as anti-testing momentum grows, the state school board today will debate whether to recommend extending those options to the class of 2019 and beyond.

Ohio among worst at graduating black pupils

For the fourth straight year, Ohio’s four-year graduation rate for black students at public high schools was among the six lowest states in the nation, according to the NCES data.

Ohio saw 67.3 percent of black students graduate in the Class of 2016, ranking us 45th of 50 states, and 9 percentage points behind the national average of 76.4 percent. That’s actually an improvement over Ohio’s 59.7 percent graduation rate for black students in 2014-15, which ranked us 49th of 50 states, and 15 percentage points behind the national rate of 74.6 percent.

RELATED: Black students not closing gaps in local schools

RELATED: Dayton summit aims for black male student success

Hashim Jabar, interim executive director of Racial Justice Now, said the problem can be traced to several systemic issues starting at the preschool level. He mentioned disproportionate punishment of black students, a lack of black teachers and neighborhood-resident teachers in majority-black schools, as well as unconstitutional state funding that results in schools like Dayton Public receiving less money than the state formula calls for.

“With property taxes being a major part of the formula, that disproportionately affects cities like Cincinnati, Cleveland and Dayton, those poorer areas,” Jabar said. “There’s a correlation to these systemic issues. Students in these schools are not receiving the same education that’s received in the suburbs of Dayton. They get lesser education, lesser funding and lesser services, despite having a stronger need.”

Ohio Department of Education officials could not immediately be reached for comment Monday.

National overview

The NCES data showed a clear bright spot — the national graduation rate improved for every subgroup of students – white, black, Hispanic, low-income, students with disabilities, English as a second-language students, and others.

RELATED: Ohio schools ranked exactly average nationally

From 2011-16, the national graduation rate increased by about 9 points for black students, to 76 percent, and by about 8 points for Hispanic and low-income students, to 79 and 78 percent, respectively. White students’ graduation rate rose from 84 to 88 percent in that span.

But the organizations leading the GradNation campaign said not enough progress is being made toward their goal of a 90 percent national graduation rate by 2020. They called for a sense of urgency “from the kitchen table to the schoolhouse to the highest reaches of corporations and government.”

RELATED: 42 percent of Ohio seniors not at graduation level yet

“We must continue to be alarmed by the persistent and remaining gaps among various subgroups of students. While we are glad to see the rate of increase among the key subgroups, the progress is not sufficient,” the GradNation group said in a statement. “In today’s world, young people who don’t graduate from high school have virtually no chance to find a job with a family supporting wage. The nation simply can’t afford this waste of talent.”

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Stanford students protest school, Brock Turner case

Published: Sunday, February 25, 2018 @ 6:13 AM

Group holds protest at Stanford related to Brock Turner case

Students of Stanford University protested the school in connection with the Brock Turner case for the way the school planned to honor the woman he assaulted in 2015.

The group of student protesters read passages from a letter written by the woman known as “Emily Doe” to the court Friday. 

>>More dry time expected to start this week

“You took away my worth, my privacy, my energy, my time, my safety.”

A plaque in “Doe’s” honor was to be installed, but the university reportedly refused to use her chosen quotes.

A Stanford University spokesman said two quotes could not be accepted because they would be triggering to survivors of sexual violence.

Turner spent three months in jail for the assault and lives in Greene County as a registered sex offender.

He appealed his conviction and has asked for a new trial.

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High water blocks some roads; troopers urge driver safety

Published: Sunday, February 25, 2018 @ 1:54 AM
Updated: Sunday, February 25, 2018 @ 5:43 AM

Flooding causes driving concern in Miami Valley

Heavy rains made for tough driving conditions Saturday, but high water remains a concern through the weekend.

Lower lying and more rural roads are at a greater risk of flooding, such as Ohio 68 in Beavercreek, and Ohio 725, which is closed until further notice between Peniwit and Lower Bellbrook roads.

>> Swollen waterways prompt flood watch, warnings along Great Miami R., other spots

“We just want motorists to take a little extra time in planning where they want to go,” Sgt. Rod Murphy of the Ohio State Highway Patrol said.

Anyone planning to head out this morning should be aware of potential flooding that could block your way.

If you see standing water in the roadway, turn around, even if the water appears shallow.

“It’s not worth the risk. It’s better to just safely turn around and find another way,” Murphy said.

Water pushing out of man holes between Xenia Avenue and Pritz Avenue in Dayton Sunday morning.

>> Kasich declares emergency over Ohio flooding

On wet roadways another concern is hydroplaning, when tires lose their grip on the pavement. Motorists in that situation are advised to “just let off the gas, slow down, and try to get to a safe area,” Murphy said.

Late Saturday and early Sunday there were reports of flooding throughout the Miami Valley.

3:27 a.m.: High water reported at Wilson Road between Fenner Road and OH-55.

3:05 a.m.: South Valley at US-35 is shut-down due to high water.

1:45 a.m.: April Lane at New Germany Trebien Road and Beavery Valley Road closed.

12:00 a.m.: Upper Bellbrook Road reported having high water.

12:00 a.m.: High water on US-68 and North at Sutton Road caused a vehicle slide off and a police cruiser was damaged.

11:30 p.m.: Hebble Creek was out of its banks in Fairborn in Greene County

11:17 p.m.: A flash flood in Lebanon in Warren County led to multiple road closures throughout the county due to high water, including Morrow-Milgrove Road, Lower Springboro and South Pioneer roads and Corwin Road.

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Dunkin' Donuts introducing Girl Scout Cookie-flavored coffees

Published: Sunday, February 25, 2018 @ 5:34 AM

Girl Scout Sells More Than 300 Boxes of Cookies Near Pot Dispensary

If you like flavored coffee and Girl Scout Cookies, you might be in luck.

Dunkin’ Donuts has announced that by Monday, Feb. 26, it will be selling three new flavored coffees inspired by Girl Scout Cookies.

>> Read more trending news 

Those flavors include Thin Mints, Coconut Caramel and Peanut Butter Cookie. These flavors will not just be limited to standard coffees.

Dunkin’ Donuts said in a Friday press release that iced and hot coffee, lattes, macchiatos, frozen coffee and frozen chocolate can all have Girl Scout Cookie flavors.

People on social media seem pretty excited about the news.

You’ll have to see for yourself if a Dunkin’ Donuts near you will be participating. If so, the coffees will be around through May.

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More dry time expected to start this week

Published: Sunday, February 25, 2018 @ 4:52 AM

Counties under flood advisory until 10:30 a.m.:

Butler, Preble, Wayne (In.)

Counties under flood advisory until 10:45 a.m.:

Montgomery, Greene, Clinton, Warren

A pre-dawn shower is possible early today. Aside from that, there will be decreasing clouds and more afternoon sunshine with highs in the lower 50s. It’s also going to be a windy day with winds gusting over 30 miles per hour at times.

Quick-Look Forecast:

  • Flood watch continues through 10 a.m. today.
  • More dry time to start the week.
  • Rain returns Wednesday and Thursday.

>>WHIO Doppler 7 Interactive Radar

TONIGHT: A dry and cool night is expected. Temperatures will drop into the middle 30s.

MONDAY: Mostly sunny skies are expected with highs in the lower to middle 50s.

TUESDAY: We get back into the upper 50s with mostly sunny skies.

WEDNESDAY: The chance for rain returns in the afternoon and evening. Highs will be in the upper 50s.

THURSDAY: Rain showers are expected with highs in the middle 50s.

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