Colo. Reports Low Graduation Rates for Minority Students

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The graduation rate for Hispanic students in Colorado has declined to 60 percent, while the rate for American Indian students dropped to less than 50 percent, according to a recent report.

Patricia Hayes, the chairwoman of the state school board, called the figures released last month by the state education department "appalling."

Colorado's overall 1995 graduation rate of 77.4 percent dropped from 78.8 percent in 1994.

The report also showed that there were 1,661 expulsions and 68,135 suspensions from Colorado public schools last school year.

An analysis by the Rocky Mountain News of Denver showed that middle and high schools in the state suspended nearly half of their black male students, but only one in six white males.

At Home in Wisconsin

Wisconsin officials say the number of home schoolers soared again this year, continuing an annual increase of 20 percent since 1985.

Figures from the state education department show that the number of home-schooled students will reach 16,000 this year. That number remains less than 2 percent of the state's overall school-age population. More than 860,000 children attended Wisconsin's public schools last year.

Still, the increase has been dramatic. Ten years ago, when the department started keeping count, the number of home-schooled students was 1,941.

Wisconsin has one of the nation's most lenient home-schooling laws. It requires parents to submit only an annual statement to state officials that they plan to educate their children at home.

Choosing Charters

The Delaware board of education has received enough charter school applications that it may hold a lottery to choose which of the schools can open next fall.

By the Dec. 31 deadline, the board had received nine requests to open new charter schools, from a math-science academy to a school for at-risk youths. State law allows only five charter schools to open in 1996.

If all the proposals meet the state's qualifications, "we would probably put the names in a hat," said Michael Ferguson, the state's deputy superintendent. He expects the board to complete its evaluations by March.

"Some applications are perhaps a little ambitious to get up and running by September," he said. "These schools have to be able to turn out student achievement right away."

Vol. 15, Issue 17

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