Arkansas High School Completion Rate Higher Than U.S. Average

APRIL 19, 2006 - Posted at 8:21 a.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK, AR - A new study by the University of Arkansas gives some good news about the state's high school graduation rates, but the numbers show the state still has room for improvement.

Researchers Jay Greene and Marcus Winters concluded that Arkansas graduates have a bigger share of its high school students than the national average.  They also say the state's proportion of black students who graduate is second-highest in the nation.

According to the study, Arkansas public schools graduated an estimated 74 percent of students in the class of 2003.  That's higher than the national average of 70 percent.

The graduation rate that year for black students in Arkansas was an estimated 69 percent, well above the national average of 55 percent.  Meanwhile, 77 percent of the state's white students graduated, compared with 78 percent nationwide.

But boys lagged behind girls in graduation rates.

Greene, the researcher, says it's important to put more energy into opportunities for minority students and boys.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)