Cities in Crisis

 

Cities in CrisisCities in Crisis 2009: Closing the Graduation Gap   prepared for America’s Promise Alliance by the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center, shows that despite some progress made by several cities from 1995-2005, the average graduation rate of the 50 largest cities is well below the national average of 71%, and there remains an 18 percentage point urban suburban gap. Cities in Crisis 2009 finds that only about half (53%) of all young people in the nation’s 50 largest cities are graduating from high school on time. Cities in Crisis 2009 was released on April 22 as a follow-up to the original Cities in Crisis report released in April 2008.

Cities that saw the greatest improvement in graduation rates include Philadelphia, Pa. (23 percentage points); Tucson, Ariz. (23 percentage points); Kansas City, Mo. (20 percentage points); El Paso, Tex. (14 percent percentage points); Portland, Ore. (13 percentage points); and New York City (13 percentage points). Other cities with an increase of 10 or more percentage points in graduation rates were Atlanta, Ga.; Austin, Tex.; Columbus, Oh.; Dallas, Tex.; Fort Worth, Tex.; Mesa, Ariz.; and Miami, Fla. Still, nineteen of the country’s 50 largest cities have seen the graduation rate at their principal school district decline within the last decade. Those with the greatest decrease in graduation rates include Las Vegas, Nev. (-23 percentage points); Wichita, Kan. (-18 percentage points); Omaha, Neb. (-15 percentage points); Arlington, Tex. (-12 percentage points); Albuquerque, N.M. (-7 percentage points); and San Francisco, CA (-7 percentage points).

Nationwide, nearly one in three U.S. high school students fails to graduate with a diploma. In total, approximately 1.2 million students drop out each year — averaging 7,000 every school day or one every 26 seconds. Among minority students, the problem is even more severe with nearly 50 percent of African American and Hispanic students not completing high school on time.

Cities in Crisis 2009: Closing the Graduation Gap also looked at the economic and employment landscape for those with varied educational levels, including those without a high school diploma. It revealed that those who drop out of high school are less likely to be steadily employed, and earn less income when they are employed, compared with those who graduate from high school. Approximately one-third (37 percent) of high school dropouts nationwide are steadily employed and are more than twice as likely to live in poverty.

The report revealed that high school dropouts account for 13 percent of the adult population, but earn less than six percent of all dollars earned in the U.S. In the 50 largest cities, the median income for high school dropouts is $14,000 — significantly lower than the median income of $24,000 for high school graduates and $48,000 for college graduates. Nationally, high school dropouts were also the only group of workers who saw income levels decline over the last 30 years.

The report, funded in part by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, analyzes school district data from the U.S. Department of Education’s Common Core of Data (2004-05). The country’s 50 largest cities were identified using 2006 data from the U.S. Census Bureau and economic and employment conditions were gathered from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2007 American Community Survey.

Other Report Findings:

Other findings of the analysis released today include:

  • Sixteen of the nation’s 50 largest cities had a graduation rate lower than 50 percent in the principal school district serving the city
    • Those with the lowest graduation rates include Indianapolis (31 percent), Cleveland (34 percent), Detroit (38 percent), Milwaukee (41 percent), Baltimore (41 percent), Atlanta (44 percent), Los Angeles (44 percent), Las Vegas (45 percent), and Columbus (45 percent).
    • Students in the suburban areas of the nation’s 50 largest cities were considerably more likely to graduate (77 percent) than students in the country’s urban schools (59 percent)
    • Cities with the largest gap between their suburban and urban schools include Cleveland (43 percent), Baltimore (39 percent), Columbus (38 percent), Milwaukee (35 percent), and Nashville (33 percent)

    What is being said about Cities in Crisis 2009:

    “The ten-year graduation rates show that progress is being made in some of America’s largest cities, but significant work remains. In order to continue to move forward and make the U.S. competitive in today’s global economy, we must work together like never before to provide the supports that young people need in order to graduate high school ready for college, work, and life.” — Alma Powell, chair of America’s Promise Alliance, which was founded in 1997 with her husband, Gen. Colin Powell as its founding chair

    "As the president said, every young person who drops out of high school is not only quitting on himself but is also quitting on his country. Similarly, every high school dropout represents not only a failure on the part of a school and an individual, but a larger failure of society to lead our children to success in education.”  — Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education

    “Research is clear about what helps kids stay in school and as we’ve all come to realize with the current economic crisis, investing in education is not only an essential part of improving graduation rates, but of supporting meaningful economic recovery. Our government has shown bold leadership in elevating education, but this means the real work must begin now. We must seize this historic moment and make sure that young people are surrounded by strong support systems, caring teachers, proper nutrition, a safe place to learn and be after school, and opportunities to give back to others. Learning from the example set forth by our summits, we know that by working together we can make sure our children graduate with the skills they need to succeed.”  — Marguerite Kondracke, president and CEO, America’s Promise Alliance

    Changes in Graduation Rates for the Main School Systems in the Nation’s 50 Largest Cities  

    City

    Principal School District

    Graduation Rate

    (Class of 2005)

    Graduation Rate

    (Class of 1995)

    Change (Percentage Points)

    Philadelphia

    Philadelphia City School District

    62.1%

    38.9%

    +23.2

    Tucson

    Tucson Unified District

    71.6%

    48.9%

    +22.7

    Kansas City

    Kansas City School District

    53.5%

    33.6%

    +19.7

    El Paso

    El Paso ISA

    60.6%

    46.6%

    +13.9

    Portland, Ore.

    Portland School District

    68.6%

    55.4%

    +13.1

    New York

    New York City Public Schools

    50.5%

    37.8%

    +12.8

    Dallas

    Dallas ISD

    50.8%

    38.2%

    +12.7

    Columbus

    Columbus Public Schools

    44.7%

    32.1%

    +12.6

    Mesa

    Mesa Unified District

    76.6%

    64.6%

    +12.0

    Austin

    Austin ISD

    58.9%

    47.5%

    +11.5

    Atlanta

    Atlanta City School District

    43.5%

    32.8%

    +10.8

    Fort Worth

    Fort Worth ISD

    56.5%

    46.1%

    +10.4

    Miami

    Dade County School District

    55.9%

    5.6%

    +10.4

    Houston

    Houston ISD

    52.9%

    43.1%

    +9.8

    Chicago

    City of Chicago School District

    51.0%

    41.8%

    +9.2

    Oakland, Calif.

    Oakland Unified

    50.5%

    41.3%

    +9.2

    Virginia Beach

    Virginia Beach City Public Schools

    68.5%

    59.7%

    +8.8

    Baltimore

    Baltimore City Public School System

    41.5%

    33.8%

    +7.7

    Denver

    Denver County School District

    58.6%

    51.7%

    +6.9

    Detroit

    Detroit City School District

    37.5%

    30.5%

    +6.9

    San Antonio

    San Antonio ISD

    47.3%

    40.9%

    +6.4

    Phoenix

    Phoenix Union High School District

    58.0%

    52.4%

    +5.6

    Indianapolis

    Indianapolis Public Schools

    30.5%

    25.2%

    +5.3

    Oklahoma City

    Oklahoma City Public Schools

    47.0%

    41.7%

    +5.3

    Milwaukee

    Milwaukee Public Schools

    41.0%

    35.8%

    +5.2

    Sacramento

    Sacramento City Unified

    62.1%

    57.2%

    +4.9

    District of Columbia

    District of Columbia Public Schools

    57.6%

    52.8%

    +4.8

    Colorado Springs

    Colorado Springs School District

    68.8%

    64.1%

    +4.6

    Honolulu

    Hawaii Department of Education

    67.4%

    63.7%

    +3.6

    Nashville

    Nashville-Davidson Co. School District

    45.2%

    42.0%

    +3.1

    Jacksonville

    Duval County School District

    50.8%

    50.2%

    +0.7

    Louisville

    Jefferson County School District

    63.4%

    63.7%

    -0.3

    Seattle

    Seattle School District

    68.9%

    69.6%

    -0.7

    Memphis

    Memphis City School District

    51.2%

    52.5%

    -1.2

    Fresno

    Fresno Unified

    51.9%

    53.4%

    -1.5

    Boston

    Boston Public Schools

    58.6%

    60.3%

    -1.7

    Minneapolis

    Minneapolis Public Schools

    45.3%

    47.0%

    -1.7

    San Jose

    San Jose Unified

    73.3%

    75.0%

    -1.8

    Tulsa

    Tulsa Public Schools

    48.5%

    50.6%

    -2.0

    Charlotte

    Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

    60.5%

    62.7%

    -2.3

    San Diego

    San Diego Unified

    63.7%

    66.0%

    -2.4

    Los Angeles

    Los Angeles Unified

    44.4%

    48.0%

    -3.6

    Long Beach

    Long Beach Unified

    64.0%

    67.7%

    -3.7

    Cleveland

    Cleveland Municipal City School District

    34.4%

    39.3%

    -4.9

    San Francisco

    San Francisco Unified

    57.1%

    63.6%

    -6.5

    Albuquerque

    Albuquerque Public Schools

    49.0%

    55.6%

    -6.6

    Arlington, Tex.

    Arlington ISD

    60.3%

    72.0%

    -11.6

    Omaha

    Omaha Public Schools

    49.6%

    64.4%

    -14.8

    Wichita

    Wichita Public Schools

    54.5%

    72.1%

    -17.6

    Las Vegas

    Clark County School District

    44.5%

    67.6%

    -23.1

    50-City Average

    52.8%

    48.3%

    +4.4

    National Average

    70.6%

    65.8%

    +4.8

    NOTE: Graduation rates are calculated using the Cumulative Promotion Index method with data from the U.S. Department of Education’s Common Core of Data. Rankings are based on non-rounded statistics. SOURCE: EPE Research Center, 2008