NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

First, Black Students Must Graduate High School

January 28, 2003

Affirmative action and quotas won't matter to the 45 percent of black students who don't graduate high school, according to a report from Education Week. Additionally, the survey reports, those students will never get into even the lowliest two-year community college -- let alone an "ivy" league school.

Here are some of the lamentable facts from the report:

  • Three years ago in New York, the proportion of blacks who did not graduate high school was 54 percent; 41 percent in California; 54 percent in Tennessee.
  • Even in Wisconsin, the proportion who didn't make it out of high school in the class of 2000 was a staggering 59 percent.
  • Across the nation, the average non-graduation rate for black students is 45 percent.

In the year 2000's standardized National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) test for math achievement, this is the percentage of black eighth graders who passed respectively in some famous states: New York, 8%; California, 6%; Michigan, 6%; Tennessee, 6%; Texas, 7%; Arkansas, 2%. By comparison, 40 percent of white students passed the test.

Educators report that the best colleges and universities fight like dogs for high-achieving black and Hispanic students -- because the pool is so small.

Source: Daniel Henninger, "A School Is For: A) Diversity B) Learning to Read," Wall Street Journal, January 24, 2003; based on "Quality Counts 2003: If I Can't Learn From You," Education Week, January 2003.

For text (WSJ subscription required),,SB1043371356503761104-search,00.html


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