Wake County graduation rates

WAKE COUNTY The graduation gap among some ethnic groups is so large; one school board member calls it terrible.

The numbers are not good enough. That's the word from Wake schools when it comes to some graduation rates.

Approximately 88 percent of white students and 87 percent of Asian students graduate in four years, compared to 65 percent of African-American students and 55 percent of Latino students.

"The fact is that for every child who doesn't graduate on time, something's broken," Assistant Superintendent David Holdzkom said. "The good news is that the gap can be closed, and we hope eliminated, not by bringing both ends toward the middle but by keeping the ceiling constant and bringing the floor up."

"Hopefully it's a wake-up call," school board member Ron Margiotta added.

Margiotta calls the graduation gap terrible and says it will take a collective effort to improve.

"We need help from the communities," Margiotta said. "It's not just a school system responsibility, it's a parental, home responsibility."

The school system is working on the gap.

Holdzkom says a comprehensive study is being done, looking at all students who didn't graduate on time this past year.

They're trying to find certain trends among those students and to then identify future students who might be headed down the same path, with the hope teachers and administrators will be able to intervene.

"We're going to pretty much have to take one youngster, each youngster at a time," Holdzkom said.

The graduation gap was more or less the same last year.

Wake County points out the data is based on students graduating in four years.

The percentage who graduate in five years is significantly higher for both African American and Latino students.

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