Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Blacks Graduating from High School at Same Rate as Whites - but Hispanics Still Lag Behind

Magazine article Black Issues in Higher Education

Blacks Graduating from High School at Same Rate as Whites - but Hispanics Still Lag Behind

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON -- The high school completion

rate for Blacks between the ages of 25 and 29

rose to nearly 87 percent last year, reaching

about the same level as whites for the first time.

That education level for all adults 25 and

older reached nearly 82 percent -- the highest

since it was first measured by the bureau in

1947, a Census report said.

"This is a very profound change in one of

the country's long-running, deep-seated

problems -- the disparity between whites and

Blacks in education," said Michael Casserly,

director of the Council of the Great City

Schools, which represents the nation's 50 largest

urban school districts.

He said he is not surprised by the finding

because his group has seen evidence of this

trend at the local level. The gap has narrowed

because schools, particularly in urban areas,

have done more to keep students in school, have

tailored programs for students who are faced

with having to drop out and work, or leave

school because of pregnancy.

"Finally, the effects are showing up in

national statistics," Casserly said.

The findings are based on data collected in

the bureau's Current Population Survey in

March 1995. Those questioned were asked to

state the highest grade or degree they had

completed. Education Secretary Richard Riley

highlighted the findings of the census report in a

study of youth indicators he released recently.

"The long-term rise in educational

attainment for the general adult population is

driven principally by the replacement of older

less-educated people by younger people who

have completed substantially more education,"

the report said.

The percentage of adults aged 25 and older

who said they had completed at least high

school peaked not only for the entire

population, but for both males and females and

for Blacks and whites, the bureau said. The

proportion of adults who had earned a

bachelor's degree also was at a record high -- 23

percent last year.

"School completion is one of the most

important influences on economic

well-being," says Jennifer Day, author of the

report. "Higher educational attainment

tends to be reflected in greater socioeconomic

success for individuals and the nation. …

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