Wisconsin’s Graduation Rate Gap Between White and Black Students Widens to Largest in U.S.

First, the good news:

Wisconsin’s overall graduation rate rose by more than half a percentage point to 88.6 percent in 2013-’14, the most recent year available, and ranks third in the nation, according to preliminary data released last week by the U. S. Department of Education.

Now, the bad news:

While Wisconsin students in almost every other racial, ethnic and special-needs category made gains, the four-year graduation rate for African-American students held steady at 66.1 percent, widening the gap between black and white students.

As the four-year graduation rate for white students rose to 92.9 percent, which ranks third nationally, Wisconsin’s 2013-14 white-black graduation gap reached 26.8 percentage points, the largest in the nation.

And, some more good news:

In Wisconsin, graduation rates rose 3.8 percentage points to 78.1 percent for Latino students and 5 percentage points to 81 percent for American Indian students. The percentage gaps between white students and Latino and American Indian students narrowed to 14.8 points and 11.9 points, respectively.

According to the U.S.Department of Education’s preliminary data, 36 states posted increases in overall graduation rates, six saw decreases and eight were unchanged since the 2012-’13 school year. The majority of states also narrowed the graduation gap for black and Hispanic students, as well as students with disabilities, English language learners and low-income students, the agency said.