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County 2011 Dropout Rate Dips Five Points From Last Year

The class of 2011 at San Diego County high schools had a 10.9 percent dropout rate, below the statewide figure of 14.4 percent, according to figures released today by the state Department of Education.

In San Diego County, 75.5 percent of the 40,451 students who started ninth grade in 2007 graduated, compared to 76.3 percent statewide. The county's dropout rate was down from 15.9 percent for the class of 2010.

The statewide graduation rate was up 1.5 percentage points from the previous year, according to the Department of Education.

"Every graduate represents a success story in one of the most effective job and anti-poverty programs ever conceived, our public schools,'' said Tom Torlakson, state superintendent of public instruction. "These numbers are a testament to the hard work of teachers and administrators, of parents and, most of all, of the students themselves.

"While they are a great illustration of all that is going right in California schools, they should also remind us that schools need our support to continue to improve so that every student graduates prepared for college, a career and to contribute to our state's future,'' he said.

Students who are not calculated as either graduates or dropouts could be either still enrolled in school or be non-diploma special education students.

Some may have passed a high school equivalency exam.

For ethnic sub-groups in San Diego County:

-- black students had a graduation rate of 67.5 percent and dropout rate of 16.4 percent;

-- Asians had a graduation rate of 88.9 percent and a dropout rate of 3.9 percent;

-- Hispanics had a graduation rate of 70.3 percent, while 14.5 percent dropped out; and

-- white students had a graduation rate of 86.2 percent, and a dropout rate of 6.4 percent.

The percentages don't add up to 100 percent because some students are staying behind in school to finish or are trying to get their GED.

In the San Diego Unified School District, 83.7 percent of the 7,825 ninth-graders in 2007-08 graduated, while 5.9 percent dropped out. The district's graduation rate was up from 80.9 percent for the class of 2010, while the dropout rate dropped from last year, when it was 8.4 percent, according to the state.