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Black graduation rates hit record high in state, city, suburbs

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African-American high school students have made remarkable progress in graduating on time from Indiana high schools. According to the 2014 graduate rate data released by the Indiana Department of Education, the statewide Black graduate on time graduation rate is the highest ever—79.5 percent for the Class of 2014.

That’s up from 77 percent for the Class of 2013 and 74 percent in 2012. And it’s a great improvement over the 59.8 percent of Black graduates of the Class of 2008 who got their diplomas on time seven years ago.

The overall graduation rate for the Class of 2014 in Indiana’s public and private high schools was 89.8 percent; up from 88.3 percent in 2013; 86.8 percent in 2012; 85.7 percent in 2011; 84.1 percent in 2010; 81.6 percent in 2009; and 77.8 percent in 2008.

In Indianapolis/Marion County school districts, Black graduation rates noticably improved, including in Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS).

IPS continued to set records for their Black graduation rate with 72.1 percent of the Class of 2014 graduating on time, compared with 70.3 percent in the Class of 2013. And it is light years away from the 50 percent IPS Black graduation rate in IPS in 2008 and 49.3 percent in 2009.

IPS’ overall graduation rate was 71 percent. But the racial/ethnic group with the lowest graduation rate was non-Hispanic whites. Just 64.9 of whites in the Class of 2014 in IPS graduated on time.

The state’s graduation rate data was released again, quietly without fanfare, by the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE).

The Indianapolis Recorder analyzed African-American graduation rates in school districts and charters in the Indianapolis Metropolitan Area as reported by IDOE. Graduation rate data for schools and districts with less than 10 African-American students in the Class of 2014 weren’t reported.

Of the 11 public school districts in Indianapolis/Marion County, 85.3 percent of African-Americans graduated on time in the Class of 2014; compared to 81.4 percent in 2013.

Of suburban Indianapolis school districts, 92.8 percent of African-Americans graduated on time; compared to 88.8 percent last year.

Of charter schools in the city/county, including the takeover schools supervised by the Indianapolis Mayor’s Office, the Black graduation rate was 45.2 percent down slightly from 47.9 percent in 2013. When charter virtual schools and the Excel Center charter school, both of which specialize in hard to serve students are excluded, then the Black graduation rate of Indianapolis’ charter and takeover schools increases to 70.4 percent, up slightly from 2013’s 69.8 percent.

The three IPS high schools taken over by the state three years ago and now monitored by the Mayor’s Charter Schools Office showed improvement in their Black graduation rates for the Class of 2014. Manual High School had an 80 percent Black graduation rate for 2014, compared to 64.3 percent in 2013. The results were close to the 82.9 percent Black graduation rate in 2012.

Arlington’s 2014 Black graduation rate rebounded to 41.9 percent, an increase from 2013’s 34.1 percent but below 2012’s 55.5 percent.

The Recorder also analyzed 27 districts and key charters. African-American graduation rates rose in 20 of those districts or charters, and declined in just six.

Black on time graduation rates for the Class of 2014 far exceeded 80 percent for every city/county district other than IPS.

Beech Grove schools had a perfect 100 percent Black Class of 2014 graduation rate. Followed by Wayne Township (94.8 percent), Pike Township (94.5 percent), Speedway (94.4 percent), Perry Township (89.8 percent), Warren (89.6 percent), Decatur (86.3 percent), Lawrence (86.1 percent), Washington (82.6 percent) and Franklin (82.1 percent).

African-American students in four area high schools had perfect graduation rates: Westfield-Washington High School in Hamilton County, IPS’ Crispus Attucks Medical Magnet, Ben Davis University in Wayne Township and Beech Grove High School.

Rounding out the Top 10 Black graduation rates for area high schools were: Herron High 97.7 percent; Brownsburg 97.1 percent; Avon 96.7 percent; Southport 96.4 percent; Indianapolis Lighthouse 96 percent; Indiana Math and Science West 95 percent.

The next 10 high schools with strong Black graduation rates were: Carmel 95 percent; Ben Davis 94.8 percent; Mt. Vernon 94.7 percent; Pike 94.5 percent; Speedway 94.4 percent; Noblesville 94.4 percent; Shortridge 94.1 percent; Plainfield 93.3 percent; Broad Ripple 92.3 percent; and Warren Central 89.6 percent.

Overall Class of 2014 graduation rates for Indianapolis/Marion County school districts were strong with Speedway schools 98.2 percent leading the pack. Followed by: Franklin Township 97.0 percent; Pike Township 93.9 percent; Wayne Township 93.9 percent; Perry Township 92.7 percent; Warren Township 90.7 percent; Decatur Township 89.7 percent; Beech Grove 88.8 percent; Lawrence Township 87.9 percent; Washington Township 86.1 percent; and IPS at 71.5 percent.

Here are the overall Class of 2014 graduation rates for high schools in Indianapolis/Marion County charters and takeovers: Ben Davis University 100 percent; Crispus Attucks 98.7 percent; Herron 97.9 percent; Franklin Central 97 percent; Shortridge 96.6 percent; Southport 94.9 percent; Ben Davis 94.5 percent; Pike 93.9 percent; Indiana Math & Science West 93.3 percent; Broad Ripple 91.5 percent; Warren Central 90.7 percent; Perry Meridian 90.5 percent; Lawrence North 90 percent; Decatur Central 89.4 percent; Speedway 86.2 percent; North Central 86.1 percent; Lawrence Central 85.6 percent; Charles A. Tindley 85.3 percent; Irvington 76.1 percent; Christel House 72.4 percent; Manual 70.9 percent; Tech 67.8 percent; Fall Creek Academy 65 percent; Northwest 62.2 percent; Howe 61 percent; George Washington 60.8 percent; John Marshall 60.5 percent; Indy Met 52.2 percent; Arlington 43.5 percent; Nexus Academy 30 percent; and Hoosier Academy 28.6 percent.

Several years ago there was a controversy about the large number of “waivers” some school districts, particularly IPS, gave that allowed students, who hadn’t passed the End of Course Assessment Exams (ECA), to graduate on time.

For the Class of 2014, IPS issued very few waivers; just 56 or 6.9 percent of all graduates. Waiver use by other Indianapolis districts were: Franklin Township 34 or 6.1 percent; Speedway 10 or 9.0 percent; Washington Township 67 or 9.2 percent; Beech Grove 15 or 9.4 percent; Pike Township 58 or 9.6 percent; Warren Township 78 or 10 percent; Decatur Township 39 or 10.2 percent; Lawrence Township 136 or 13.2 percent; Wayne Township 126 or 13.7 percent and Perry Township 147 or 15.8 percent of all graduates.

Graduation rates in Indiana are computed by tracking each individual student in a high school’s freshman class for four years. Students not included in the graduate rate are not all dropouts. They include students who receive a GED diploma, or a Certificate of Completion, or drop out.

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