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California High School Graduation Rate Improves In Post-COVID Rebound

During the commencement ceremony at Belmont High School, an L.A. Unified School District campus near downtown, a graduating senior wears green robes and a mortarboard decorated with the words: "I wanted to give up but then I remembered who I was." She's standing on a football field next to other graduating students who are assembled at socially-distanced folding chairs.
A graduating senior at the 2021 commencement ceremony at Belmont High School, an L.A. Unified School District campus near downtown, wears a mortarboard with the words: "I wanted to give up but then I remembered who I was."
(Kyle Stokes
/
LAist)
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California's high school graduation rate rose in 2022, with 87% of last spring's senior class earning diplomas on-time, state officials announced Thursday.

How this year's numbers compare

Statewide, the new graduation rate represents an increase of more than 3 percentage points over the prior year, and follows a string of small declines during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Why it matters

Thursday's announcement is a welcome reprieve from a string of bad news about the effects of the COVID-19 on student learning this year. Earlier this year, state officials released data from the first round of statewide testing since the pandemic's onset. As many feared, the results showed many students in Grades 3-8 and 11 were off-track academically.

How LAUSD did

In the Los Angeles Unified School District the graduation rate was even higher: 87.4%. That figure represents perhaps the first time that LAUSD's graduation rate has beat the statewide average, said Superintendent Alberto Carvalho — though he noted that rate included independent charter schools, which the district doesn't manage. Even setting aside charters, LAUSD's graduation rate topped 86% — and still rose significantly from the year before.

How other L.A. County districts fared

Here are the results from a handful of the county's largest districts.

  • In Long Beach Unified, 85.2% of students graduated on time in 2022
  • William S. Hart Union High (Santa Clarita): 93%
  • Centinela Valley Union High: 42.9%
  • Whittier Union High: 92.9%
  • El Monte Union High: 85.4%
  • Downey Unified: 94.2%
  • Montebello Unified: 88.9%
  • Glendale Unified: 84.1%
  • Pomona Unified: 88.6%

(These figures reflect all schools in these districts, including charters.)

What questions do you have about K-12 education in Southern California?
Kyle Stokes reports on the public education system — and the societal forces, parental choices and political decisions that determine which students get access to a “good” school (and how we define a “good school”).

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