Just 63 percent of New Mexico students in the 2010-2011 school year finished secondary school and the percentages for Hispanic students (59 percent) and Native Americans (56 percent) fell below 60 percent.
The data from the Department of Education are significant in the fact that the numbers reflect a common, more rigorous standard to compare states to each other. Prior to this study, states used measurements that often undercounted dropouts and produced inflated results, making cross-state comparisons inaccurate and volatile.
“By using this new measure, states will be more honest in holding schools accountable and ensuring that students succeed,” US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a statement Monday (Nov. 26) when the statistics were released.
Three states — Idaho, Kentucky and Oklahoma — did not participate in the study so only 47 states are represented. The only state that had a lower graduation percentage than New Mexico’s 63 percent figure was Nevada, which came in at 62 percent.
(The District of Columbia also took part in the study and had a 59 percent high school graduation rate.)
Here’s a breakdown in the New Mexico numbers:
|NM high school graduation rates, 2010-2011 academic year|
|Children with Disabilities||47%|
The states with the highest graduation percentage were Iowa (88 percent), Wisconsin and Vermont (87 percent) and Indiana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Tennessee and Texas (86 percent).
You can look at the results of the Department of Education study by clicking here.
Update: We talked to Gov. Susana Martinez to get her reaction to the US Deparment of Education results: