High school graduation rates remain flat overall but decreases among Hispanics

Idaho’s high school graduation rate remained flat in 2019, inching up a fraction of a percentage point, the State Department of Education announced late Friday afternoon.

Sherri Ybarra

At the same time, new data reveals the graduation rates for Hispanic students and students with disabilities dropped significantly.

Overall, for the class of 2019, the four-year graduation rate was 80.7 percent, compared to 80.6 percent the previous year.

But for Hispanic students, the graduation rate decreased by 2 percentage points, to 73.9 percent.

Graduation rates for other at-risk groups dropped as well:

  • For students with disabilities, the graduation rate was 56.1 percent, down 2.4 percentage points.
  • For migrant students, the graduation rate was 64.3 percent, down 5.6 percentage points.
  • For English language learners, the graduation rate was 74.4 percent, down 1.1 percentage points.

Overall, Idaho’s high school graduation rate fell well short of the state’s goal. For the class of 2019, the state’s goal was 87.3 percent, according to Idaho’s Consolidated Plan, its blueprint to comply with the Every Student Succeeds Act, the federal education law passed in 2015. This state plan is an important document because it sets a series of ESSA goals. Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra, former Gov. Butch Otter and State Board of Education member Linda Clark signed off on the plan, approved unanimously by the State Board.

  • Click here to see how Idaho performs against its own goals on a variety of metrics.
  • Click here to see your high school’s graduation rate and compare it to other schools.

Ybarra was not available Friday evening for an interview to discuss the graduation rates or the reasons why the state fell short of its goal.

In a news release, Ybarra called the results “modest” and touted improvements in Idaho’s five-year graduation rates. In all, 82.8 percent of students finished high school within five years, up from 82 percent the previous spring.

“Including a five-year rate gives us a more complete picture of Idaho students’ completion rates,” Superintendent Ybarra said. “Our results this year are modest, but I’m confident the great work of Idaho’s teachers and schools, plus the support offered by my department, will result in more gains in the future.  In addition, I believe our efforts to increase funding for literacy, teacher pay and social-emotional learning will yield growth in graduation rates and student achievement.”

The timing of Friday’s news was curious. Idaho Education News had filed written public records requests seeking 2019 graduation data since at least December. The SDE released the data at 5:19 p.m. Friday, before a three-day holiday weekend.

“We didn’t just hang on to it for the pleasure of it,” SDE spokesman Kris Rodine said in an email, when asked if the data was indeed finalized Friday. “Got it out as soon as it was ready. Could have waited until Monday, but the decision was to get it out today.”

Clark Corbin

About Clark Corbin

Reporter Clark Corbin has covered Idaho government and education for more than a decade. He’s followed every legislative session, gavel-to-gavel, since 2011. Clark is a co-host of the Extra Credit podcast with Kevin Richert published on Fridays. You can follow him on Twitter: @clarkcorbin. He can be reached by email at ccorbin@idahoednews.org

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