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Oregon's Graduation Rate Inches Up


Kris Mulvihill (left) works with high school students at Riverside High School in Boardman. Mulvihill directs the K-12 portion of the Eastern Promise program. 

Kris Mulvihill (left) works with high school students at Riverside High School in Boardman. Mulvihill directs the K-12 portion of the Eastern Promise program. 

Rob Manning/OPB

Oregon’s graduation rate inched up two percentage points last spring, improving from 72 to 74 percent, according to results released Thursday by state education officials. 
 
However, graduation rates continue to diverge on the basis of race and income.

The graduation rate of white students rose to 76 percent. Those for African-American and Latino students improved, too, but they’re still significantly lower.  

As for the income gap, students who are not poor have an 83 percent graduation rate, compared to just 66 percent for students considered “low income.”

Jefferson High School in North Portland, Ore.

Jefferson High School in North Portland, Ore.

Alan Sylvestre/OPB

One of the biggest recent improvements is at Portland’s Jefferson High School - also known as Jefferson Middle College for its connection to nearby Portland Community College. Jefferson made a huge jump from a 66 percent grad rate in 2014 to over 80 percent last spring. The improvements at the majority African-American high school are led by that majority. Black students went from a 68 percent grad rate in 2014 to 81 percent last spring. The majority of Jefferson seniors are low-income - a group that earned diplomas in four years 79 percent of the time last spring.

State officials are touting the improvement in Medford, where rates jumped ten points from 65 to 75 percent. A big reason for the increase was improvement from low-income students. They make up a majority of Medford’s high school seniors, improving from a 57 percent grad rate in 2014 to 67 percent last spring.

Grad rates for Medford’s Latino students rose even more.

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