Georgia’s high school graduation rate is up by more than a percentage point from a year ago, but gaps still remain among ethnic and racial groups, according to Georgia Department of Education data.
The department released school-level and school district-level data last week showing overall graduation rates as well as rates for white, Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic and multiracial students, as well as rates for students with disabilities, English language learners and “economically disadvantaged” students.
The overall state graduation rate from public schools was 80.6 percent — up from 69.7 percent in 2012 — but some subgroups were much higher, some lower.
Statewide, the graduation rate for the class of 2017 was 91.2 percent among the Asian/Pacific Islander classification, the highest of all the subgroups. Others include white (84.0 percent), multi-racial (81.5), American Indian/Alaskan (79.2), Black (77.8), Hispanic (73.6), economically disadvantaged (76.4), English learners (59.0) and students with disability (58.9).
Among Oconee, Clarke and other area school systems, there was also considerable variation among the subgroups:
- In Clarke and Barrow counties, for example, Asian students posted the highest graduation rates — 94.4 percent in Clarke verses an overall rate of 80.3 percent and 93.3 percent in Barrow versues an overall graduation rate of 82.6 percent.
- In Oconee and Jackson counties, white students had the highest graduation rates — 96.4 percent in Oconee (96 percent overall) and 95.1 percent in Jackson (94.7 percent overall).
- In most area counties, graduation rates for black and Hispanic students lagged those of whites and Asians. but not everywhere. In Barrow County (82.6 percent overall graduation rate), black students (85.5) and Hispanic students (86.2 percent) graduated at a higher rate than whites (80.2 percent). In Jackson County, the Hispanic graduation rate of 94.6 nearly matched the overall 94.7 percent rate.
- Oglethorpe County and Jefferson City Schools had the biggest gaps between black students and the overall rates. Oglethorpe County’s graduation rates for black students was 73.9 percent versus an overall 85.5 percent rate. Jefferson’s overall 95.3 percent rate was 13.5 points higher than the African American graduation rate of 81.8 percent.
- But Jefferson had the highest graduation rate for Hispanic students among Athens-area school systems — 100 percent. Jefferson also had the highest graduation rates for white students, 96.8 percent, just ahead of Oconee County at 96.4 percent.
- Oconee County had the highest graduation rate overall among eight area school systems at 96 percent. But Oconee also had the highest graduation rates for students with disabilities at 88.4 percent. Clarke had the lowest graduation rate for students with disabilities among area school districts, 53.6 percent, according to the state statistics.
- In most area school systems, economically disadvantaged students graduated at a lower rate than their overall senior class. But there were some exceptions. In both Clarke and Barrow counties, economically disadvantage students posted slightly higher rates — 81.4 percent versus an overall rate of 80.3 percent in Clarke with the area’s highest poverty rate; and an 84.6 percent economically disadvantaged rate versus an overall 82.6 percent rate in Barrow.
- The three counties who reported data on “English learner” students showed considerable variation in rates. In Clarke County, 59.2 percent of English language learners graduated; in Barrow, 70 percent; and in Jackson County, 86.7 percent.