A new report on opportunities for the nation’s African-American students lists Tennessee among the top five states for graduating its black students, but among the bottom five states for equipping them to be college-ready, reports Chalkbeat Tennessee.
Seventy-eight percent of the state’s black students graduated from high school in 2013, but only 4 percent tested as college-ready in all four ACT-tested subjects — a jarring gap included in the report released Thursday by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.
“It’s not surprising to see some gap, but to see this size of a gap is jaw-dropping,” said lead researcher Michael McShane in an interview on Wednesday.
“This is something that I hope is kind of a wake-up call. If the student successfully graduates from high school, that’s a school giving him a signal that they have what they need in order to succeed. Then they show up in college completely unprepared. The psychological toll on them is terrible,” he said.
McShane added that Tennessee is not alone in this discrepancy and noted that the study does not reflect the number of students who graduate high school and choose not to enroll in college.
Like most other Southern states, Tennessee has a significant number of black students in its K-12 public education system — more than 229,000, or 23 percent of the state’s student population, in 2013-14.
Note: Full report HERE.
A new report says Tennessee in 2013 ranked eighth nationally for its high school graduation rates. And the state isn’t far from reaching the U.S. goal of 90 percent by 2020, according to the Times-Free Press.
The report, “Building a Grad Nation,” found 86.3 percent of Tennessee high school students graduated on time, meaning getting their diploma within four years. The national rate was 81.4 percent.
Iowa ranked No. 1 with an 89.7 percent graduation rate.
“Tennessee overall is doing extraordinarily well,” said Jennifer DePaoli, a senior education adviser with Washington, D.C.-based Civic Enterprises and a co-author of the report, sponsored by several national organizations.
The state led the Southeast or came close to it in some subcategories such as on-time graduation rates for students who come from low-income backgrounds. Other categories include minorities and students with various disabilities.
…For Tennessee to attain the 90 percent goal, it needs only to add another 2,595 on top of those who graduated in 2013.
But that could be easier said than done because improvement becomes harder even as states improve, the report notes. For example, Tennessee’s graduation rate increased by just 0.3 percentage points from 2011 to 2013.
“We’re seeing a similarity in Tennessee that we’re seeing in a lot of other states where the closer that those states get to 90 percent, the harder and harder it seems,” DePaoli said
State Senate Republican candidate Greg Vital said he’s not a college graduate despite saying the opposite in a public forum, reports Chris Carroll.
“That was a Freudian slip,” Vital said Tuesday. “It was a mistake.”
Vital is campaigning for the District 10 seat now held by Sen. Andy Berke, D-Chattanooga, who’s running for Chattanooga mayor.
On May 31, Vital spoke at a candidate forum sponsored by the Hamilton County Young Republicans. During his opening remarks, Vital said he “finished up” college in 1979 and “graduated with only $900 on my student loan.”
Vital’s campaign website says he “attended” Southern Adventist University and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Officials at both schools confirmed Vital’s enrollment, but said he never graduated.
“It slipped,” Vital said in a phone interview. “What I meant was I finished college whenever I finished and I still owed $900. That was the point.”
Vital said he has “never embellished” his education in the past, but an online biography appears to discredit that claim.
A website for the Bragg Point condominiums in Missionary Ridge lists Vital as the residential project’s co-developer and includes a detailed professional biography that says: “Vital holds an undergraduate degree in business administration from Southern Adventist University.”