Graduation rates for Tulsa students aren’t improving

Tulsa has one of the lowest graduation rates in Oklahoma and it’s not getting better. Almost four out of every 10 students fails to get a high school diploma.

Figures from the Oklahoma Department of Education for the 2014-15 school year showed that Tulsa Public Schools had a dismal 63 percent graduation rate. It was the same low percentage as the 2013-14 school year.

TPS is 10 percentage points below Oklahoma City and almost 30 percentage points below Edmond in graduation rates.

Even so, state school officials seem pleased because even though the rates aren’t improving, they don’t seem to be getting worse.

Oklahoma’s high school graduation rate remained steady at 83 percent at the end of the 2014-2015 school year, keeping pace with national graduation rates of 82 percent in 2014 and 83 percent in 2015.

“I am encouraged that Oklahoma’s graduation rates are keeping pace with national rates despite widespread budget cuts and the teacher shortage,” said State School Superintendent Joy Hofmeister. “This is a testament to the hard work of our students as well as our teachers, administrators and support staff in public schools across the state.”

The overall graduation rates for Oklahoma’s 10 largest school districts also remained steady. In fact, the percentages for Oklahoma City (73 percent), Tulsa (62 percent), Moore (83 percent), Putnam City (79 percent), Norman (73 percent), Lawton and Midwest City (Del City) were all exactly the same for both years. Broken Arrow dipped slightly from 90 percent to 87 percent and Union fell from 91 percent to 90 percent.

Graduation rates are calculated based on a four-year adjusted term as required by the U.S. Department of Education.

Graduation requirements can vary widely by state. In Oklahoma, all students who receive a high school diploma are expected to pass a college preparatory and work ready curriculum aligned with Oklahoma college admission course requirements. After changes last year resulting from the passage of House Bill 3218, students are no longer required to pass four of seven End-of-Instruction (EOI) exams to graduate.