Who makes it

Only 70 percent of California ninth graders graduate from a public high school in four years, says an Education Trust-West report. The graduation rate ranges from 57 percent of Latinos and 59 percent of blacks to 81 percent of whites and 89 percent of Asian-Americans. Only 23 percent of incoming high school students will fulfill the requirements for the public university system, which requires a C or better in college-prep classes. Asians (50 percent) are much more likely than whites (31 percent), blacks (14 percent) and Latinos (12 percent) to qualify for college.

In Oakland, only half of ninth graders graduate in four years. San Jose Unified (which doesn’t include all of the city) has the best record for urban districts in the Bay Area, reports the SF Chronicle.

In San Jose, 73 percent of ninth-graders go on to graduate in four years, including 55 percent of Latinos, 89 percent of white students and 100 percent of Asians.

Note that many Asians in the district, though not all, are Vietnamese kids from low-income, immigrant families.

San Jose Unified requires all students to take the college-prep sequence required by the state’s public universities: 47 percent graduate in four years with a C or better in the required courses. That includes 25 percent of Latino students, 64 percent of whites and 88 percent of Asians. In other words, most students don’t qualify, but the district has doubled the percentage who do by making everyone try.

About Joanne


  1. As Jaime Escalante once said:

    “Students will rise to the level of expectations placed upon them”.

    If the student really wants an education, they will find a way to succeed despite hardships. I find that the Education Trust really does attempt to make the public aware of the need for students of all races to get a good education, and this isn’t just for students who are college bound, but for all students.

    I got C’s in most of my courses which were termed college prep back in 1978-1981, but compared to kids today who are classified as honor students, get scholarships to college, but can’t pass state mandated exams in basic algebra and geometry, reading comprehension, and writing, there can only be two conclusions:

    1. Due to grade inflation, A’s today in high school are what C’s were 20-25 years ago (studies bear this analysis out).


    2. Students are cheating on such a large scale anymore that while they get high grades, they know little or none of the subject matter they are being tested on.

    In either case, these types of stats just serve to validate my case for accountability by teachers, parents, adminisrators, and most of all, students.

  2. you can also do primary research at http://data1.cde.ca.gov/dataquest/

    … although you have to do computation by hand across years. This data was an important galvanizing influence for our reform efforts

  3. Walter E. Wallis says:

    Think of what could have been done in the quarter century where a bus ride was the be-all and end-all of education. If there was any justice, some folk would hang for that waste in money and opportunity. Even today public schools have demonstrated they can educate if we only let them. If we interfered with auto mechanics as much as we do with teachers, no one’s car would run.

  4. There are other possible explanations. Perhaps the tests simply don’t test the skills that are required to get good grades. The tests themselves aren’t constant, so assuming the only variables are the students or how grades are assigned misses that obvious alternative possibility. Another suggestion isn’t that students are cheating but that they study in such a way that they don’t learn anything except in short-term enough memory to get through the exam. The reality probably involves something of all of these explanations.

  5. I’d like to see the unrounded numbers for those who graduate in 4 years in San Jose. Specifically, I’m curious whether “100%” of Asian-Americans means “all but two or three or four” (some number greater than 99.5% rounded up to 100%) or “every single one” (100.00%). Either would be remarkable, but the latter would be amazing.

    Then again, the high school at which I teach claims that 99% of its graduates go on to college. Since the student body is quite small, that means that my nephew Jonathan pretty much is that 1%.

  6. A school might say (n) percent go on to college after graduation, but a more realistic figure would be to say “of those admitted to college, this is the percentage which graduate after 3 years with a associate’s degree, or after 6 years with a bachelor’s degree”.

    This is a far more useful figure than “percent that go on to college after graduation”.

  7. Even today public schools have demonstrated they can educate if we only let them. If we interfered with auto mechanics as much as we do with teachers, no one’s car would run.