Report: Blacks closing high school graduation gap
May 19, 1997
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- More black Americans are finishing high school but are doing it later in life, according to a report released by the American Council on Education.
In 1995, about 87 percent of both blacks and whites aged 25 to 29 had graduated high school, the report shows. In 1985, blacks had an 81 percent high school graduation rate, compared with 87 percent for whites, the report said.
The gap may have closed because a greater number of black people finished high school requirements later in life through equivalency examinations, the report said.
Among students aged 18 to 24, African Americans and Hispanics still trail whites in high school completion rates, a trend that has lasted for more then two decades. But the 1995 data indicated that both African Americans and Hispanics had narrowed that gap.
College completion rates among African Americans and whites aged 25 to 29 reached their highest levels since 1975 -- 26 percent of whites and 15 percent of blacks.
But only 9 percent of Hispanics of the same age group had completed four years of college, a lower rate than in the 1980s.
An analysis of Census data showed that the rate of increase in college enrollment among black and Hispanic students is slowing, the report said.
Graduate participation up
Both Hispanic men and women contributed to a 2 percent increase in Hispanic college participation in 1995.
Still, there is a significant gender gap between Hispanic male and female high school graduates aged 18 to 24 -- the college participation rate for Hispanic women was 38.4 percent in 1995, compared with 32.2 percent for Hispanic men.
Students of color made the greatest gains in 1995 at the graduate level, where enrollment increased 6.1 percent. At the undergraduate level, enrollment was up by 2.6 percent.
This year the report included a special focus study on educational and demographic trends among Asian-Pacific Americans. It explored the myth of the "model minority."
The study found Asian-Pacific Americans (APAs) are often left out of the discourse on race and education because they are considered a "model minority" not in need of attention from educators.
College participation in the group ranges from 66 percent for Chinese Americans to 26 percent for Laotian Americans.
The study says the stereotype of APAs as science and math students does not reflect reality. APAs have a wide range of academic interests and are involved in a variety of extracurricular activities.
One of the principle authors of the special study, Kenyon Chan of California State University, said that for Asians Americans, education is their economic road out. Chan recommends language development programs and a focus on high-risk APA groups.
The American Council on Education is an umbrella group for colleges, universities and educational associations.
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