The National Center for Education Statistics, the number-crunching wing of the US Education Department, has released a new report on public high school dropouts (grades 9-12) for the 2004-05 school year. Here are some of the selected findings:
• National total: 540,382.
• California, New York and Texas had the highest number of dropouts, with more than 43,000 each.
• Rates varied from a low of 1.9 percent in North Dakota to a high of 8.2 percent in Alaska, with an estimated national average of 3.9 percent.
• The national dropout rate has remained relatively stable since the 2002-03 school year.
• More males (289,675) than females (209,818) dropped out during the 2004-05 school year, with a corresponding higher dropout rate for males (4.4 percent) than for females (3.4 percent).
• For the 512,702 dropouts for whom race/ethnicity was reported, 2.1 percent were American Indian/Alaska Native, 2.9 percent were Asian/Pacific Islander, 26.4 percent were Hispanic, 27 percent were black, non-Hispanic and 41.5 percent were white, non-Hispanic.
• Midwesterners were less likely to drop out (3.4 percent) than were their peers in the Northeast (4 percent), the South (3.9 percent) and the West (4.1 percent).