The number of students finishing high school has increased over time for students in all racial/ethnic groups. However, the rate of progress has varied and racial/ethnic gaps persist.
The National Center for Education Statistics released a new report today (July 18) entitled Status and Trends in the Education of Racial and Ethnic Groups, 2017. This report provides details on the educational progress and challenges students face in the United States by race and ethnicity. The report presents 28 indicators on topics ranging from prekindergarten through postsecondary education, as well as labor force outcomes.
The new report shows that public schools are becoming more racially and ethnically diverse. Between fall 2003 and fall 2013, the percentage of students enrolled in public elementary and secondary schools decreased for students who were White (from 59 to 50 percent) and Black (from 17 to 16 percent). In contrast, the percentage increased for students who were Hispanic (from 19 to 25 percent) and Asian/ Pacific Islander (from 4 to 5 percent) during the same time period.
Other key findings include:
- In 2014, the percentage of children under age 18 living in poverty based on the official poverty measure was highest for Black children (37 percent), followed by Hispanic children (31 percent), and White and Asian children (12 percent each);
- In 2014, about 4.7 million public school students participated in English language learner (ELL) programs. Hispanic students made up the majority of this group (78 percent), with around 3.6 million participating in ELL programs;
- On the NAEP reading assessment, the White-Black gap in scale scores narrowed in Grade 4 from 32 points in 1992 to 26 points in 2015, while the White-Hispanic gap (24 points) was not measurably different from 1992. In grade 8 reading, the White-Hispanic gap narrowed from 26 points in 1992 to 21 points in 2015, while the White-Black gap (26 points) was not measurably different from 1992;
- From 1990 to 2015, the high school status completion rate for 18- to 24-year-olds increased from 59 percent to 88 percent for Hispanic students, from 83 percent to 92 percent for Black students; and from 90 percent to 95 percent for White students. Despite this progress, the completion rates for Hispanic and Black 18- to 24-year-olds remained lower than the White rate in 2015;
- The number of bachelor's degrees awarded to Hispanic students more than doubled between 2003–04 and 2013–14. During the same period, the number of degrees awarded also increased for Black (by 46 percent), Asian/Pacific Islander (by 43 percent), and White (by 19 percent) students; and
- In 2014, among those who had not completed high school, higher percentages of Black and American Indian/Alaska Native adults (both 22 percent) were unemployed compared to White (13 percent), Hispanic (8 percent), and Asian (7 percent) adults.