Summer vacation days are waning. Principals and teachers are dusting off cobwebs, physically and mentally, and gearing up for the next school year to begin. This month, STAR Communities is directing attention to Objective EAC-3: Educational Opportunity & Attainment.
Objective EAC-3 focuses on equitable attainment of quality education for individuals from birth to adulthood. Outcomes focus on reading proficiency of elementary students and high school graduation rates. Actions include involvement in schools, transparent reporting of progress, and academic enrichment programs.
Did you know that in the 2014-15 school year, 36% of 4th graders in the US met or exceeded reading proficiency standards? That means that 64% were not proficient in reading. A study by the University of Chicago found third grade reading level to be a significant predictor of eighth grade reading level and ninth grade course performance. Since 2013, reading proficiency for low income and special education students increased while rates for all other groups remained statistically similar.
Also, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics, in the 2014-15 school year, the national 4-year adjusted cohort high school graduation rate was 83%. In looking closer at the data for specific subgroups, there is a 10%+ gap between the graduation rates of Native Americans (72%), Blacks (75%), and Latinos (78%) and the graduation rates of Whites (88%) and Asians (90%). Other graduation rates reported include low income (76%), special education (65%), and English Language Learner (65%) students.
The Leading STAR Community Indicators program is a great way for communities to track these outcomes on an annual basis. Below are graphics of the 2016 reports for the 43 communities that participated.
The median reading proficiency rate of the 43 communities reporting to the STAR Indicators program was 58.9% with a range from 32% to 89.2%.
The median graduation rate of the 43 communities reporting to the STAR Indicators program was 87.5% with a range from 53% to 97%.