Students With Disabilities Lag In Graduation Rates

Data has been collected as part of the national effort to reach a goal of having all high school students graduate at a rate of 90% by 2020.  According to a report released this week produced by Civic Enterprises and the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University School of Education, for the first time in four years, the nation is not on track to reach its goal of a 90 percent on-time graduation rate by 2020.  This report is based on federal education data covering the 2013-2014 school year.  To remain on track, the rate needs to increase by 1.3 percentage points  each year.  This latest data  shows the yearly increase was only  .9 percentage points.  Additionally, in spite of significant increases for some groups, the nation continues to suffer from severe gaps in graduation rates affecting students of color, students from low-income families, students with disabilities and English-language learners.

Nationally students with disabilities lag in rates of graduating by more than 21%. Overall, the nation’s graduation rate rose to 82.3 percent for the 2013-2014 year, but reached just 63.1 percent for students with disabilities.

The report also noted that graduation rates were lower for low-income students as compared to non-low income students, with a national graduation rate of 76.9% for low-income students compared to 91% for non-low income students.

In California, students with non-disabilities graduated at a rate of 83.4% compared to students with disabilities at 21.4% for a graduation gap of 15.1%

The report did note, however, that the majority of students with disabilities can graduate on time when given the proper supports.

Sources for the article: 2016 Building a Grad Nation Data Brief: Overview of 2013-2014 High School Graduation Rates; Graduation Rates Lagging for Students with Disabilities, by Michelle Diament, Disability Scoop, January 22, 2016.