Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor describes new figures on high school graduation rates in Connecticut as “unacceptable”. Students in poverty and students are color are far less likely to finish high school in four years.
Overall, nearly one in five Connecticut students fails to graduate high school in four years according to new data from the State Department of Education. But for kids who live at or below the poverty level, are Hispanic or black, in special ed or are English language learners - it's one in three.
"It's another example of the gaping achievement gap that exists in Connecticut. Our state is better than this."
Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor:
"The same factors that are intertwined with academic performance are intertwined with whether a student graduates or not. It's too often the case that the schools in our state compared to other states are terribly underperforming as it pertains to students in poverty and students of color."
High school graduation rates vary widely among cities and towns. The newest figures show districts like Madison, New Canaan and Ridgefield with more than 95% of their students graduating. Bridgeport, Hartford, New Haven, and New London are among the districts with graduation rates below 65%.
Pryor says now's the time to tackle the problems in education in Connecticut.
"The reality is that we have a legislative session coming up. We have a new team at the State Department of Education. And we have other opportunities, such as the federal government offering us a waiver from our Elementary and Secondary Education Act requirements. In each of these cases, we need to move boldly and swiftly to address these gaps."
Connecticut recently began calculating high school graduation rates using federal guidelines. The new method is more accurate and consistent across the state and country. The newest figures look at 2010 graduation rates.