Oregon once again posted the third-worst high school graduation rate in the nation, new federal figures show.
Oregon’s No. 48 ranking is unchanged from the previous year. It ranked No. 47 for two years before that, but sank a notch when Alaska raised its success rate.
The only states that still have lower rates than Oregon — Nevada and New Mexico — both registered more year over year improvement at getting students to earn diplomas than Oregon did.
The new rates are for the class of 2016. Oregon got 74.8 percent of students in its class of 2016 to earn diplomas within four years of starting high school.
Oregon’s rate inched up just 1 percentage point from the class of 2015. New Mexico and Nevada both improved about 2.5 percentage points during the same period.
Oregon posted the second-worst graduation rate for white students behind New Mexico and the third-worst graduation rate for Latinos, behind New York and Minnesota.
All told, 8,358 students in Oregon’s class of 2016 dropped out. Another 3,307 returned for a fifth year of high school. Historically, many fifth-year seniors quit without earning diplomas.
Gov. Kate Brown has said improving Oregon’s graduation rate is a high priority for her. Her hand-picked “education innovation officer,” whose No. 1 job is to improve graduation rates, is temporarily acting as state schools chief at her behest. In October, Brown asked the previous schools chief, Salam Noor, to step down.
Oregon plans to release graduation rates for the class of 2017 in late January. Those rates will show how many students in the class of 2017 graduated in four years and will also reveal how many fifth-year seniors in the class of 2016 earned diplomas.