A greater percentage of students graduated from an Iowa high school last year compared to 2009. Jason Glass, who took over as director of the Iowa Department of Education last month, released the figures today.
Iowa’s statewide, four-year graduation rate in 2010 hit 88.8%, a 1.5% increase over the previous year. “All but one of our student subgroups saw an increase, with the largest gains among English Language Learners and Hispanic students,” Glass said.
The graduation rate among Hispanic students rose from 69% to 77%, while the rate for students who do not speak English as their native language jumped from 64% to 73%. Only 72% of African-American children graduated on time in 2010, that’s down one-tenth of a percentage point from 2009.
“Frankly, we need to do much more to help African-American students and students in poverty find success and growth in school to the same degree that we’ve seen in other subgroups of other Iowa children,” Glass said. Many of the highest gains were reported in Iowa’s largest school districts – including Des Moines, Davenport, Waterloo and Council Bluffs.
Glass credited efforts around the state to boost student achievement, including initiatives to help English Language Learners and state money for programs designed to increase graduation rates. Glass is hoping for even bigger improvements in the years ahead. “In the short term, if we could shoot toward 95% as a goal to strive for…I think it would be tremendous if we could reach that,” Glass said.
Overall, 147 of Iowa’s school districts reported increased graduation rates, while rates dropped in 93 districts.
See the full report here: www.iowa.gov/educate