WASHINGTON – In the 2007-08 school year,Ohio public high schools are projected to graduate 107,576 students,with 15.5 percent of those belonging to minority groups.
Nationally,more minority students are expected to be enrolled in high school than ever,making up almost 43 percent of total students.
A new study released at a news conference Thursday,“Knocking at the College Door: Projections of High School Graduates by State,Income,and Race/Ethnicity,” provides high school graduation data from 1988 to 2018.
Published by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education,ACT and the College Board,it includes information useful to educators in long-term planning.
“These projections provide us with the knowledge base to fulfill our mission: to connect students to college success,” said Howard Everson,vice president for academic initiatives at the College Board,a national association that runs the Scholastic Aptitude Test and works with other educational programs.
The study projects the high school graduating class of 2008-09 will be the largest in history,with 3.2 million students earning diplomas. But after that,most parts of the United States will see a decline in enrollments and the number of graduates.
In recent years,more students have been applying for admission into colleges and universities. With the projected surge in high school graduates,colleges and universities will need to think about their admissions procedures to compensate for the increase,the report says.
It is important that high school graduates attend college,the report adds,because most need postsecondary education to secure a well-paying job.
“Those with only a high school diploma earn about half of what those with a four-year college degree earn,” said Richard Sawyer,assistant vice president for measurement and statistical research at ACT Inc.,which also administers pre-college tests.
This edition of the study is the first time family income data has been projected. It shows the South as the poorest region,the West second and both the Northeast and Midwest together at the top.
“There's diversity across the United States. There's diversity within regions of the United States,” Everson said. “So planning for higher education enrollment and educational programs in the future will have to take into account these regional distinctions.”
Ohio falls into the Midwest region,along with Michigan,Indiana,Illinois,Wisconsin,Missouri,Iowa,Minnesota,Kansas,Nebraska,and North and South Dakota. Between 1990 and 2000,Ohio fell significantly below the national population growth rate,according to the study.
In a 14-year span from the 1987-88 school year to 2001-02,the number of public high school graduates in Ohio fell from 124,503 to 107,576. That number will rise to 115,288 in 2008-09,then fall back to nearly the 2001-02 number,with 108,820 graduates,the study projects.
The rise in high school graduates raises some questions,said David Longanecker,executive director of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education,which coordinates and studies education issues in 15 Western states.
“Some states will have such substantial increases – will they have enough seats in schools to handle this? Are the students going to be prepared to succeed in college when they go?” he asked.
Sawyer said educators need to better prepare lower-income and minority students for college.
“We need to intensify preparation,educational leaders teaching critical college skills,so that students are prepared to succeed in college,especially minority and low-income students,” Sawyer said.
In the early 1990s,10 percent of all Ohio high school graduates were members of racial or ethnic minorities,according to the study. This proportion is projected to increase to approximately 17 percent by 2013-14.
Among these minority groups,black non-Hispanics make up the largest share in Ohio,with close to 11,200 in 2002. By 2013-14,the group is projected to represent 12 percent of the class.
While the number of minority graduates is projected to increase in Ohio,the study shows the percentage of white,non-Hispanic students decreasing. Currently,the number is about 86 percent of graduates. It is projected to fall to 79 percent in the class of 2014.
Ohio falls within the one-half of states that will have manageable change in the number of high school graduates. But about a fifth of states will see more than a 25 percent increase that will be more difficult to handle,according to the study.
Only a small number of states,including Washington,D.C.,and North Dakota,will see declines of more than 25 percent.
Across the nation,Longanecker said there are three reasons behind the growth shifts,including the number of births in each state,interstate migration and immigration. California and New York have the highest number of immigrants.
“Public policy will need to vary from one state to another,” Longanecker said. “If we want to be a nation that leads the world,we simply have to do business differently in the future.”