An encouraging subset in Idaho’s graduation numbers

A new national report on graduation rates contains at least one glimmer of hope for Idaho.

The state’s English language learners are graduating at a significantly higher rate than their peers nationally.

The latest report from the GradNation campaign drills down into 2014-15 graduation rates — exploring not only differences between the states, but also demographic achievement gaps.

Idaho’s overall graduation rate came in at 78.9 percent, compared to a national rate of 83.2 percent. Idaho’s graduation rate ranked No. 39 in the nation.

But for English language learners, Idaho’s graduation rate came in at 72 percent; nationally, that rate was 65.1 percent. And as Wednesday’s report points out, ELL graduation rates in Arizona and New York hovered in the mid-30s.

“This is a demographic that is rising quickly within our public schools, and it is essential that we work to find better ways to engage them in the classroom, and to help them learn and succeed,” the report said.

English language learners comprise 7.8 percent of Idaho’s student population, and 6.4 percent of the nation’s student population.

Other Idaho data revealed achievement gaps that more or less mirror national patterns.

  • Low-income students graduated at a 72 percent rate, compared to 85.9 percent for students who do not live in poverty. All told, about two thirds of Idaho’s non-graduates live in poverty.
  • Hispanic students graduated at a 71.2 percent rate, compared to 80.8 percent of white students.
  • Students with disabilities graduated at a 58 percent rate. Students without disabilities graduated at an 80.9 percent rate.


Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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