Dropouts Down But Minority Communities Still At Stark Disadvantage

"Dropout factory" high schools may be on the decline in United States but for minority communities, the good news may not apply. A report released Tuesday by America's Promise Alliance, shows the nation's graduation rate went up from 72 to 75 percent between 2001 and 2008.

But the report also states that nearly all high-poverty urban districts have graduation rates below the national average.

The PBS-affiliated reporting project Patchwork Nation breaks down topical issues via interactive maps. The project visualized graduation rates by county across America and found stark proof that minority communities suffer most from low graduation rates.

One county type stands out in sharpest relief in Patchwork Nation - the counties with large African American populations called Minority Central, set heavily in the nation's southeast. Those counties hold only about 4.5 percent of the U.S. population, but they hold more than 15 percent of the high schools with the highest dropout rates.

Also included in the lowest performing schools by county are areas with large Native American populations and industrial metropolis counties.

The map below reflects the lowest performing schools by county in red. Alternately you can view the highest performing schools by county, reflected in blue and concentrated mainly in more affluent areas in the Northeast.

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