SANTA FE, N.M. — Capital High School’s graduate rate is just barely more than 50 percent, according to the latest statistics compiled by the state Public Education Department.
Capital’s 2010 “cohort” graduation rate —intended to provide a look at how many students graduate four years after entering high school — was 51.4 percent, down from just under 60 percent the previous year.
Santa Fe High School’s rate for 2010, the latest year for which numbers are available, was 63.2 percent, the PED says. Santa Fe High also showed a drop from 2009, when its cohort graduation rate was about 67 percent.
Both school had shown improvement in last year’s report.
Capital and Santa Fe high schools were among 73 New Mexico schools — out of 209 reporting — that found their graduation rates decline from 2009 to 2010. Fifty four of New Mexico’s 89 school districts reporting improved figures.
“The district still needs to look at it (the state report) to see if there are any discrepancies,” Bobbie Gutierrez, Santa Fe Public Schools superintendent, said Wednesday. “It’s not uncommon to have the state report being lower than our data.”
However, if it is confirmed that both Santa Fe and Capital’s graduation rates are on the decline, Gutierrez said, “then I would be very concerned. But I’m not going to get too excited about it at this point. Having been through this process the past few years, we typically have to do a reconciliation.”
New Mexico’s statewide average has improved to a graduation rate of 67.3 percent, up by 1.2 percentage points from 2009.
In a news release, PED Secretary-designate Hanna Skandera noted that New Mexico’s dropout stats are improving more slowly than the national average and that a recent Education Week report, based on numbers for the class of 2008, ranked New Mexico 49th, ahead of only Nevada and the District of Columbia.
The report also indicated that New Mexico lost, on average, 71 students per school day.
“And what this report makes perfectly clear is that we need reform in New Mexico as soon as possible,” Skandera said.
Santa Fe-area charter schools — Academy for Technology and the Classics, and Monte del Sol — are among the schools showing improvement, with graduation rates well above the state average. ATC’s rate went up 6.19 percentage points to 79.7 in 2010, and Monte del Sol was at 78.7 percent, up 1.4 percentage points from 2009.