Wisconsin posts largest white-black graduation gap

Erin Richards

State Superintendent Tony Evers announced Monday that as part of the next budget, he’ll ask the Legislature to change state law to allow MPS to start the academic term earlier than Labor Day so that Superintendent Darienne Driver can pursue an aggressive slate of credit-recovery programs for high school students.

“It’s time to look at doing some things differently for Milwaukee Public Schools,” Evers said. “If they can do credit recovery in a robust way, that could raise the graduation rate.”

The achievement gap is so stark in Wisconsin because graduation rates are very high for white students and very low for black students. Almost 93% of white students earn diplomas on time in Wisconsin, which ranks just behind white students in New Jersey (94%) and Texas (93.4%). But Wisconsin’s graduation rate for black students is 64.1%, which ranks 6th lowest among states. Nevada is the worst, with a 55.5% black graduation rate, and Minnesota ranks fourth-lowest, at 62%.

Nationally, 74.6% of black students graduate on time.