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States with the worst education disparity

  • States with the worst education disparity
    1/ pan xiaozhen // Unsplash

    States with the worst education disparity

    Education has long been a hot-button political issue, with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle arguing over the extent to which opportunities are provided equally to all students. In an article for Brookings, Dick Startz, a professor of economics at the University of California in Santa Barbara, discusses some of the key indicators of educational opportunity in America. Startz points out that black and white students tend not to attend the same schools, and schools with a majority of black students are more likely to have uncertified teachers, less likely to offer advanced placement and gifted programs, and even less likely to teach calculus. 

    To examine how detrimental racial disparity is in education, Stacker has used data from the 2018 U.S. Census, ranking each state by the difference between the percentage of whites and people of color—which includes black or African American, American Indian and Alaska Native, Asian, Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander, and two or more races, excluding minority data if the population is under 5,000 in the state—who have obtained a bachelor’s degree or higher. Additionally, data indicating whether whites or non-whites are more likely to finish high school, as well as a racial and gender breakdown, has been included for each state.

    Important data points to note include the fact that 24.9% of the entire national population holds a bachelor’s degree. The national rate of whites holding a bachelor’s degree or higher is 25.6% (22.5% for non-whites). Nationally, the percentage of women with a bachelor’s degree is 25.7%; it’s 24.1% for men. Finally, Stacker's ranking is based solely on the educational gap between races. An alternative would be creating an index including gender and family income, but this data set only includes current income, not family income when a child.

    From New Jersey to Washington to Hawaii, find out which state is more likely to graduate people of color, and which state has the greatest educational disparity along racial lines: starting at #50, the state with the least amount of education disparity, and ending with #1, the state with the highest amount of education disparity. 

    RELATED: States spending the most and least per student on education

  • #50. New Jersey
    2/ LTwomey02 // Wikicommons

    #50. New Jersey

    Race gap
    Whites are 0% more likely than people of color to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; whites are 0% more likely than people of color to finish high school.
    —White: 30.7% bachelor's or higher; 9.8% do not finish high school
    —People of color: 30.6% bachelor's or higher; 9.8% do not finish high school
    —Black or African-American: 19.2% bachelor's or higher; 11.5% do not finish high school
    —American Indian and Alaska Native: data not included due to small population
    —Asian: 53.1% bachelor's or higher; 7.3% do not finish high school
    —Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander: data not included due to small population
    —Two or more races: 5% bachelor's or higher; 9.9% do not finish high school

    Gender gap
    Women are 0.8% more likely than men to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; women are 1% more likely than men to finish high school.
    —Female: 31.1% achieve bachelor's or higher; 9.3% do not finish high school
    —Male: 30.2% achieve bachelor's or higher; 10.3% do not finish high school

    New Jersey's population is well above the national average when it comes to higher education. While 24.9% of Americans nationally have completed a bachelor's degree, in New Jersey over 30% of the state's residents (including white people and people of color) hold a bachelor's or higher—though a larger percentage of white residents have a bachelor's degree or higher than black or African-American residents. Also notable, more black or African-American students than white students do not finish high school: In May 2018, several groups filed a lawsuit alleging that New Jersey "has been complicit in the creation and persistence of school segregation because it has adopted and implemented laws, regulations and policies that foster and enable residential segregation."

  • #49. Arizona
    3/ Finetooth // Wikicommons

    #49. Arizona

    Race gap
    Whites are 0.8% more likely than people of color to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; people of color are 0.8% more likely than whites to finish high school.
    —White: 23.9% bachelor's or higher; 15.8% do not finish high school
    —People of color: 23.2% bachelor's or higher; 15% do not finish high school
    —Black or African-American: 20.9% bachelor's or higher; 11.9% do not finish high school
    —American Indian and Alaska Native: 8.3% bachelor's or higher; 18.4% do not finish high school
    —Asian: 46.5% bachelor's or higher; 14.5% do not finish high school
    —Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander: 7.7% bachelor's or higher; 0% do not finish high school
    —Two or more races: 8.1% bachelor's or higher; 17.7% do not finish high school

    Gender gap
    Men are 1.1% more likely than women to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; men are 0.1% more likely than women to finish high school
    —Female: 23.2% achieve bachelor's or higher; 15.7% do not finish high school
    —Male: 24.3% achieve bachelor's or higher; 15.6% do not finish high school

    While there is only a slight educational disparity between whites and people of color in Arizona, the state as a whole struggles academically. Education is the #1 issue facing Arizona, according to a poll of 600 likely voters conducted Dec. 10–12, 2018, from funding for education and teacher raises to charter-school reform. Last year's #RedForEd teacher strike in the state has reportedly led lawmakers to approve of Gov. Doug Ducey's plan to increase teachers' salaries by 20% above 2016 levels by 2020, though there is question of whether Arizona is actually meeting its education funding duties in general. 

  • #48. Nevada
    4/ Ken Lund // Flickr

    #48. Nevada

    Race gap
    Whites are 1% more likely than people of color to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; whites are 1% more likely than people of color to finish high school.
    —White: 16.8% bachelor's or higher; 12.1% do not finish high school
    —People of color: 15.8% bachelor's or higher; 13.1% do not finish high school
    —Black or African-American: 15% bachelor's or higher; 10.7% do not finish high school
    —American Indian and Alaska Native: 3.9% bachelor's or higher; 16.6% do not finish high school
    —Asian: 28.6% bachelor's or higher; 11.3% do not finish high school
    —Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander: 13.3% bachelor's or higher; 11.7% do not finish high school
    —Two or more races: 7.5% bachelor's or higher; 18.5% do not finish high school

    Gender gap
    Women are 2.7% more likely than men to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; men are 0.1% more likely than women to finish high school.
    —Female: 17.8% achieve bachelor's or higher; 12.4% do not finish high school
    —Male: 15.1% achieve bachelor's or higher; 12.3% do not finish high school

    Overall educational achievement is low among Nevada's students, though it is lower across minority groups, and places like Clark County are trying to change that. In Summer 2018, Superintendent Jesus Jara appointed Mike Barton to a newly created position: chief college, career, and equity officer. Barton notes "transparent opportunity gaps for African-American students or those on free or reduced-price lunch," and says they are examining their course offerings and considering students' needs. 

  • #47. Iowa
    5/ Richc80 // Wikicommons

    #47. Iowa

    Race gap
    Whites are 1.2% more likely than people of color to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; whites are 2.4% more likely than people of color to finish high school.
    —White: 22.6% bachelor's or higher; 9.2% do not finish high school
    —People of color: 21.4% bachelor's or higher; 11.6% do not finish high school
    —Black or African-American: 9.6% bachelor's or higher; 13.2% do not finish high school
    —American Indian and Alaska Native: 21.8% bachelor's or higher; 18.8% do not finish high school
    —Asian: 36.9% bachelor's or higher; 6.5% do not finish high school
    —Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander: 12.7% bachelor's or higher; 38.8% do not finish high school
    —Two or more races: 23.5% bachelor's or higher; 9.1% do not finish high school

    Gender gap
    Men are 0.5% more likely than women to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; men are 0.8% more likely than women to finish high school.
    —Female: 22.2% achieve bachelor's or higher; 9.8% do not finish high school
    —Male: 22.7% achieve bachelor's or higher; 8.9% do not finish high school

    Iowa is just below the national average when it comes to the overall percentage of its residents holding bachelor's degrees, but it is remarkable how much lower educational attainment is for black or African-American people, as well as for Native Americans. In addition, 38.8% of Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander individuals do not finish high school—there has been a notable growth of migration of Pacific Islanders to the U.S. in all 50 states, and jobs are suggested to be a driving force. There is also question of whether this community is misrepresented on the U.S. Census. In March 2018, the Iowa Department of Education published a legislative report on how it is trying to close achievement gaps in the state. 

  • #46. Washington
    6/ Joe Mabel // Wikicommons

    #46. Washington

    Race gap
    People of color are 1.9% more likely than whites to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; people of color are 0.7% more likely than whites to finish high school.
    —White: 26.7% bachelor's or higher; 10.5% do not finish high school
    —People of color: 28.6% bachelor's or higher; 9.8% do not finish high school
    —Black or African-American: 20.2% bachelor's or higher; 9.6% do not finish high school
    —American Indian and Alaska Native: 11.4% bachelor's or higher; 17.4% do not finish high school
    —Asian: 39.2% bachelor's or higher; 10% do not finish high school
    —Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander: 9% bachelor's or higher; 13.6% do not finish high school
    —Two or more races: 19.2% bachelor's or higher; 6.4% do not finish high school

    Gender gap
    Women are 2.8% more likely than men to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; men are 0.2% more likely than women to finish high school.
    —Female: 28.6% achieve bachelor's or higher; 10.5% do not finish high school
    —Male: 25.7% achieve bachelor's or higher; 10.2% do not finish high school

    Washington is a rare state in which people of color are more likely to finish high school or to hold a bachelor's degree than whites. Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians living in Washington are still the least likely to finish high school, which can be attributed in part to the fact that Washington spends $2,000 less per pupil than the national average. Those budget cuts hit the rural districts, which in Washington tend to service more Native children than white children the hardest, leaving them without the resources necessary to ensure children graduate.

     

  • #45. Vermont
    7/ John Phelan // Wikicommons

    #45. Vermont

    Race gap
    Whites are 2.1% more likely than people of color to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; whites are 9.5% more likely than people of color to finish high school.
    —White: 30.4% bachelor's or higher; 9.1% do not finish high school
    —People of color: 28.2% bachelor's or higher; 18.6% do not finish high school
    —Black or African-American: 24.3% bachelor's or higher; 24.4% do not finish high school
    —American Indian and Alaska Native: data not included due to small population
    —Asian: 35.9% bachelor's or higher; 18.1% do not finish high school
    —Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander: data not included due to small population
    —Two or more races: 18.9% bachelor's or higher; 20.1% do not finish high school

    Gender gap
    Men are 0.1% more likely than women to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; women are 1% more likely than men to finish high school.
    —Female: 30.1% achieve bachelor's or higher; 9.3% do not finish high school
    —Male: 30.2% achieve bachelor's or higher; 10.3% do not finish high school

    For both whites and people of color, Vermont is well above the national average for bachelor's degree holders (25.6% and 22.5%, respectively). A report by the University of Southern California’s Race and Equity Center puts the University of Vermont in the top 36 of 500 institutions with the highest "equity index" scores. That being said, the state also scores low when it comes to high school graduation rates for people of color (48th in the nation), and it is even worse for black or African-American people with nearly a quarter not graduating from high school. 

  • #44. Illinois
    8/ Omnedon // Wikicommons

    #44. Illinois

    Race gap
    Whites are 2.3% more likely than people of color to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; whites are 0.3% more likely than people of color to finish high school.
    —White: 27.8% bachelor's or higher; 11.4% do not finish high school
    —People of color: 25.5% bachelor's or higher; 11.7% do not finish high school
    —Black or African-American: 18.2% bachelor's or higher; 13.3% do not finish high school
    —American Indian and Alaska Native: 7.3% bachelor's or higher; 11.6% do not finish high school
    —Asian: 49.8% bachelor's or higher; 7.7% do not finish high school
    —Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander: 24.4% bachelor's or higher; 17.1% do not finish high school
    —Two or more races: 8.2% bachelor's or higher; 12.2% do not finish high school

    Gender gap
    Women are 3.4% more likely than men to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; women are 0.7% more likely than men to finish high school.
    —Female: 29% achieve bachelor's or higher; 11.1% do not finish high school
    —Male: 25.5% achieve bachelor's or higher; 11.8% do not finish high school

    Illinois scores high on the list not only for closing in on the racial gap in education—whites are only 2.3% more likely than people of color to have an undergraduate degree—but also for clocking in well above average when it comes to the percentage of women in the state who have gotten a bachelor's degree. Still, black students are more likely to be disciplined than their classmates of other races, according to ProPublica, which is notable because researchers discovered that when schools lessened disciplinary actions, black students had higher attendance and test scores.  

  • #43. West Virginia
    9/ Young American

    #43. West Virginia

    Race gap
    Whites are 2.3% more likely than people of color to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; whites are 1.3% more likely than people of color to finish high school.
    —White: 15.1% bachelor's or higher; 13.7% do not finish high school
    —People of color: 12.8% bachelor's or higher; 15% do not finish high school
    —Black or African-American: 13.3% bachelor's or higher; 13.5% do not finish high school
    —American Indian and Alaska Native: data not included due to small population
    —Asian: 44.4% bachelor's or higher; 15.4% do not finish high school
    —Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander: data not included due to small population
    —Two or more races: 4.9% bachelor's or higher; 15.8% do not finish high school

    Gender gap
    Women are 1.6% more likely than men to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; women are 1.9% more likely than men to finish high school.
    —Female: 15.7% achieve bachelor's or higher; 12.8% do not finish high school
    —Male: 14.1% achieve bachelor's or higher; 14.7% do not finish high school

    West Virginia is the 48th-least racially diverse state in the union, and there is not a massive difference between races when it comes to high school graduation: whites are only 1.3% more likely to graduate from high school than people of color. It also ranks on the lowest end of the scale in terms of higher education attainment—only 15.1% of whites and 12.8% of non-whites in the state earn bachelor's degrees.

  • #42. Kentucky
    10/ Wdzinc // Wikicommons

    #42. Kentucky

    Race gap
    Whites are 2.7% more likely than people of color to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; people of color are 3.6% more likely than whites to finish high school.
    —White: 19% bachelor's or higher; 14.8% do not finish high school
    —People of color: 16.3% bachelor's or higher; 11.1% do not finish high school
    —Black or African-American: 15.8% bachelor's or higher; 12.1% do not finish high school
    —American Indian and Alaska Native: 6.3% bachelor's or higher; 12.7% do not finish high school
    —Asian: 53.6% bachelor's or higher; 10.9% do not finish high school
    —Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander: 0% bachelor's or higher; 0% do not finish high school
    —Two or more races: 5% bachelor's or higher; 8.6% do not finish high school

    Gender gap
    Women are 4.3% more likely than men to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; women are 0.7% more likely than men to finish high school.
    —Female: 20.8% achieve bachelor's or higher; 14% do not finish high school
    —Male: 16.5% achieve bachelor's or higher; 14.7% do not finish high school

    In April 2018 thousands of educators in Kentucky found their benefits cut and their pensions gutted. Per-pupil school funding was also cut by 16%. These dramatic changes saw many educators retire from teaching, or quit their jobs in search of greener pastures in other states. Given Kentucky's already abysmally low levels of educational attainment (fewer than 20% of Kentucky residents of any race earn bachelor's degrees), these cuts to teacher benefits could spell further doom for Kentucky students.

  • #41. Utah
    11/ An Errant Knight // Wikicommons

    #41. Utah

    Race gap
    People of color are 3% more likely than whites to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; people of color are 2.5% more likely than whites to finish high school.
    —White: 21.2% bachelor's or higher; 10.4% do not finish high school
    —People of color: 24.3% bachelor's or higher; 7.9% do not finish high school
    —Black or African-American: 22.7% bachelor's or higher; 4.7% do not finish high school
    —American Indian and Alaska Native: 9.8% bachelor's or higher; 28.2% do not finish high school
    —Asian: 47% bachelor's or higher; 5.6% do not finish high school
    —Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander: 8.8% bachelor's or higher; 5.7% do not finish high school
    —Two or more races: 21.4% bachelor's or higher; 3.8% do not finish high school

    Gender gap
    Men are 0.1% more likely than women to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; women are 0.4% more likely than men to finish high school.
    —Female: 21.4% achieve bachelor's or higher; 10.1% do not finish high school
    —Male: 21.5% achieve bachelor's or higher; 10.4% do not finish high school

    People of color in Utah are 3% more likely to obtain a bachelor's degree than their white counterparts. One contributing factor to this could be the presence of Mormonism in the state. The Mormon Church is largely a white one, and 62.8% of the state's residents are members. Some within the church speculate that low graduation rates among Mormon students are related to high rate of young marriage by women in the church. There has been a trend for some years for Latter-Day Saints women to attend university for a year or two and then leave to marry and start a family.

     

  • #40. Arkansas
    12/ Brandonrush // Wikicommons

    #40. Arkansas

    Race gap
    Whites are 3.1% more likely than people of color to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; whites are 3% more likely than people of color to finish high school.
    —White: 18.8% bachelor's or higher; 15% do not finish high school
    —People of color: 15.7% bachelor's or higher; 18% do not finish high school
    —Black or African-American: 15.5% bachelor's or higher; 19% do not finish high school
    —American Indian and Alaska Native: 18.7% bachelor's or higher; 28.3% do not finish high school
    —Asian: 43.4% bachelor's or higher; 2% do not finish high school
    —Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander: 0% bachelor's or higher; 8.5% do not finish high school
    —Two or more races: 9% bachelor's or higher; 17% do not finish high school

    Gender gap
    Women are 4.5% more likely than men to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; women are 3.1% more likely than men to finish high school.
    —Female: 20.3% achieve bachelor's or higher; 14.2% do not finish high school
    —Male: 15.8% achieve bachelor's or higher; 17.2% do not finish high school

    Educationally Arkansas is one of the lowest-performing states in education in the nation. Rich Huddleston, executive director of Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, has noted “serious disparities among students across the state." Solutions suggested by a Pew Charitable Trust study include promoting early childhood education, improving teacher quality, and using new charter schools to help reduce the racial and socioeconomic achievement gap. 

  • #39. Massachusetts
    13/ Kenneth Zirkel // Wikicommons

    #39. Massachusetts

    Race gap
    Whites are 3.5% more likely than people of color to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; whites are 5.1% more likely than people of color to finish high school.
    —White: 34.9% bachelor's or higher; 8.7% do not finish high school
    —People of color: 31.4% bachelor's or higher; 13.8% do not finish high school
    —Black or African-American: 16% bachelor's or higher; 16.2% do not finish high school
    —American Indian and Alaska Native: 17.8% bachelor's or higher; 23.4% do not finish high school
    —Asian: 58.7% bachelor's or higher; 8.2% do not finish high school
    —Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander: data not included due to small population
    —Two or more races: 11.2% bachelor's or higher; 19.1% do not finish high school

    Gender gap
    Women are 1% more likely than men to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; women are 0.7% more likely than men to finish high school.
    —Female: 34.7% achieve bachelor's or higher; 9.4% do not finish high school
    —Male: 33.6% achieve bachelor's or higher; 10% do not finish high school

    Home to world-renowned universities like Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Massachusetts is an education powerhouse. The small New England state has the largest percentage of minorities with bachelor's degrees in the country. They are also the state with the largest number of men and women (when measured separately) who hold bachelor's degrees or higher. However, it is notable that nearly a quarter of American Indians and Alaska Natives do not finish high school. Researchers have attributed the educational disparity gap experienced by many American Indians across the nation "to the lack of cultural relevance in mainstream educational settings," as well as bias against students in the classroom. 

  • #38. Virginia
    14/ Nyttend // Wikicommons

    #38. Virginia

    Race gap
    Whites are 4% more likely than people of color to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; whites are 1.4% more likely than people of color to finish high school.
    —White: 32.2% bachelor's or higher; 11.4% do not finish high school
    —People of color: 28.2% bachelor's or higher; 12.9% do not finish high school
    —Black or African-American: 21.1% bachelor's or higher; 15.4% do not finish high school
    —American Indian and Alaska Native: 10.8% bachelor's or higher; 6.9% do not finish high school
    —Asian: 47% bachelor's or higher; 7% do not finish high school
    —Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander: 14.8% bachelor's or higher; 0% do not finish high school
    —Two or more races: 31.1% bachelor's or higher; 13.8% do not finish high school

    Gender gap
    Women are 1% more likely than men to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; women are 3.5% more likely than men to finish high school.
    —Female: 31.5% achieve bachelor's or higher; 10.2% do not finish high school
    —Male: 30.4% achieve bachelor's or higher; 13.7% do not finish high school

    Women are more likely to complete various levels of education in Virginia than men: Virginia is fifth in the nation for number of women who hold a bachelor's degree or higher. And while women tend to get hit harder with student debt, Virginia is 10th in the nation for federal financial aid recipients, with 311,500 students receiving an average of $10,930 each per year. However, African-Americans are significantly less likely to finish high school or get a bachelor's degree or higher. African-American children, who make up a third of Charlottesville's enrollment, are four times more likely than white students to be held back a grade, five times more likely to be suspended, and four times less likely to be in the gifted program. 

  • #37. Idaho
    15/ Zechariah Judy // Wikicommons

    #37. Idaho

    Race gap
    Whites are 4.4% more likely than people of color to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; whites are 4.4% more likely than people of color to finish high school.
    —White: 20.3% bachelor's or higher; 10.7% do not finish high school
    —People of color: 15.9% bachelor's or higher; 15.1% do not finish high school
    —Black or African-American: 21.5% bachelor's or higher; 18.8% do not finish high school
    —American Indian and Alaska Native: 19% bachelor's or higher; 7.4% do not finish high school
    —Asian: 24.5% bachelor's or higher; 21.4% do not finish high school
    —Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander: 0% bachelor's or higher; 12.9% do not finish high school
    —Two or more races: 10.7% bachelor's or higher; 10.9% do not finish high school

    Gender gap
    Men are 0.1% more likely than women to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; women are 2.1% more likely than men to finish high school.
    —Female: 20% achieve bachelor's or higher; 9.8% do not finish high school
    —Male: 20.1% achieve bachelor's or higher; 12% do not finish high school

    As a state whose primary industry is agriculture, obtaining a college degree may not make financial sense for many of the state's residents, resulting in a lower percentage of college degrees across most races when compared with the national average. Interestingly a higher percentage of black or African-Americans have a bachelor's degree than both whites and people of color as a whole. But a significantly higher percentage of black or African-Americans than whites do not finish high school.

     

  • #36. Pennsylvania
    16/ Dwkaminski // Wikicommons

    #36. Pennsylvania

    Race gap
    Whites are 4.4% more likely than people of color to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; whites are 0.8% more likely than people of color to finish high school.
    —White: 26% bachelor's or higher; 11.6% do not finish high school
    —People of color: 21.6% bachelor's or higher; 12.4% do not finish high school
    —Black or African-American: 15.5% bachelor's or higher; 12.2% do not finish high school
    —American Indian and Alaska Native: 36.8% bachelor's or higher; 16.3% do not finish high school
    —Asian: 44.8% bachelor's or higher; 14% do not finish high school
    —Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander: 41.4% bachelor's or higher; 28.9% do not finish high school
    —Two or more races: 8.2% bachelor's or higher; 10% do not finish high school

    Gender gap: women are 0.1% more likely than men to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; women are 0% more likely than men to finish high school.
    —Female: 25.3% achieve bachelor's or higher; 11.8% do not finish high school
    —Male: 25.2% achieve bachelor's or higher; 11.8% do not finish high school

    Whites and people of color graduate with a bachelor's degree or higher in this state above and just under, respectively, the national averages. And students in Pennsylvania receive the second largest amount of federal aid per capita (only Washington D.C. students receive more). However, whites are still 4.4% more likely to graduate from college than people of color in general; but American Indians and black or African-Americans are even less likely to get a bachelor's than white people. To combat the achievement gap, Pennsylvania schools will be given deadlines, as well as support, to make improvements under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act. 

  • #35. Nebraska
    17/ Ammodramus // Wikicommons

    #35. Nebraska

    Race gap
    People of color are 4.5% more likely than whites to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; whites are 0.8% more likely than people of color to finish high school.
    —White: 21.5% bachelor's or higher; 12.2% do not finish high school
    —People of color: 26% bachelor's or higher; 13% do not finish high school
    —Black or African-American: 24.4% bachelor's or higher; 13.7% do not finish high school
    —American Indian and Alaska Native: 0% bachelor's or higher; 30.7% do not finish high school
    —Asian: 44.1% bachelor's or higher; 6.7% do not finish high school
    —Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander: data not included due to small population
    —Two or more races: 4.9% bachelor's or higher; 11% do not finish high school

    Gender gap
    Women are 1.9% more likely than men to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; women are 0.9% more likely than men to finish high school.
    —Female: 22.8% achieve bachelor's or higher; 11.9% do not finish high school
    —Male: 20.9% achieve bachelor's or higher; 12.8% do not finish high school

    Nebraska is a middle-of-the-pack state when it comes to education and race disparity. But in March 2018, the governor and legislature allocated an additional $146.4 million for K-12 public education. The goal was to close the gap between urban districts, who serve primarily white families and receive 50% of their funding from state sources, and smaller, rural districts, who serve primarily minority families and receive a mere 11% of their funding from state sources.

  • #34. New Hampshire
    18/ Austin Blake Grant // Wikicommons

    #34. New Hampshire

    Race gap
    Whites are 4.8% more likely than people of color to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; whites are 2.2% more likely than people of color to finish high school.
    —White: 30.4% bachelor's or higher; 8.1% do not finish high school
    —People of color: 25.6% bachelor's or higher; 10.3% do not finish high school
    —Black or African-American: 10.5% bachelor's or higher; 10.6% do not finish high school
    —American Indian and Alaska Native: data not included due to small population
    —Asian: 43.8% bachelor's or higher; 5.9% do not finish high school
    —Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander: data not included due to small population
    —Two or more races: 9.4% bachelor's or higher; 16.8% do not finish high school

    Gender gap
    Women are 0.6% more likely than men to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; women are 2.4% more likely than men to finish high school.
    —Female: 30.3% achieve bachelor's or higher; 7.1% do not finish high school
    —Male: 29.7% achieve bachelor's or higher; 9.5% do not finish high school

    From 2014 to 2017, New Hampshire, the third-whitest state in the country, went from being ranked as the second best state to raise an African-American child within to not being ranked at all due to a lack of African-American children in the state. Both whites and people of color as a whole are above the national average when it comes to attaining higher education in New Hampshire. 

     

  • #33. Georgia
    19/ Thomson 200 // Wikicommons

    #33. Georgia

    Race gap
    Whites are 5.3% more likely than people of color to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; whites are 3.8% more likely than people of color to finish high school.
    —White: 25.6% bachelor's or higher; 11.5% do not finish high school
    —People of color: 20.3% bachelor's or higher; 15.3% do not finish high school
    —Black or African-American: 19% bachelor's or higher; 14.7% do not finish high school
    —American Indian and Alaska Native: 13.2% bachelor's or higher; 20.8% do not finish high school
    —Asian: 30% bachelor's or higher; 19.1% do not finish high school
    —Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander: 9.5% bachelor's or higher; 38.7% do not finish high school
    —Two or more races: 18.4% bachelor's or higher; 7.6% do not finish high school

    Gender gap
    Women are 1.4% more likely than men to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; women are 1.5% more likely than men to finish high school.
    —Female: 24.1% achieve bachelor's or higher; 12.3% do not finish high school
    —Male: 22.7% achieve bachelor's or higher; 13.8% do not finish high school

    Like all states Georgia uses federal and state funding for their public schools, but they are unique in the fact that local taxes and funding make up the lion's share of the budget. Wealthier districts, where taxes bring in more money, can spend up to $15,000 per student, while less-prosperous districts are only able to spend $7,000 per student. This disparity in finances is a potential factor in the huge swing of high school graduation rates within the state. Only 11.5% of white students fail to graduate, while some minority groups see 20–38.7% of their students fail to graduate.

  • #32. Texas
    20/ Core10117 // Wikicommons

    #32. Texas

    Race gap
    People of color are 5.5% more likely than whites to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; people of color are 5.3% more likely than whites to finish high school.
    —White: 20.4% bachelor's or higher; 16.5% do not finish high school
    —People of color: 25.8% bachelor's or higher; 11.2% do not finish high school
    —Black or African-American: 20.3% bachelor's or higher; 10.2% do not finish high school
    —American Indian and Alaska Native: 16.6% bachelor's or higher; 19% do not finish high school
    —Asian: 51.6% bachelor's or higher; 8% do not finish high school
    —Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander: 13.7% bachelor's or higher; 24.4% do not finish high school
    —Two or more races: 10.4% bachelor's or higher; 18% do not finish high school

    Gender gap
    Women are 1.6% more likely than men to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; women are 0.7% more likely than men to finish high school.
    —Female: 22.3% achieve bachelor's or higher; 15% do not finish high school
    —Male: 20.7% achieve bachelor's or higher; 15.7% do not finish high school

    Texas is a unique state in that minorities are more likely to graduate from high school and to hold a bachelor's degree than whites—something that is not seen mirrored in many other places around the country. The University of Texas at Austin started to make changes in order to increase its graduation rates back in 2012. Data analysis allowed the university to highlight the traits most likely to contribute to students dropping out or taking an extended period of time to finish their degrees. To help the most vulnerable students, UT-Austin provided academic and financial resources. 

  • #31. Oregon
    21/ Tedder // Wikicommons

    #31. Oregon

    Race gap
    Whites are 5.8% more likely than people of color to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; whites are 6.8% more likely than people of color to finish high school.
    —White: 27.7% bachelor's or higher; 9.6% do not finish high school
    —People of color: 22% bachelor's or higher; 16.4% do not finish high school
    —Black or African-American: 17.9% bachelor's or higher; 11.6% do not finish high school
    —American Indian and Alaska Native: 9% bachelor's or higher; 29.5% do not finish high school
    —Asian: 45.6% bachelor's or higher; 14% do not finish high school
    —Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander: 12.7% bachelor's or higher; 7.2% do not finish high school
    —Two or more races: 12.2% bachelor's or higher; 18.2% do not finish high school

    Gender gap
    Women are 1.3% more likely than men to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; women are 2.7% more likely than men to finish high school.
    —Female: 27.6% achieve bachelor's or higher; 9.2% do not finish high school
    —Male: 26.3% achieve bachelor's or higher; 11.9% do not finish high school

    Oregon has more white high school and college graduates than many other states. They also have a just-below average number of minority college graduates (Oregon sits at 22% versus the national average of 22.5%), making them the 17th best state for minority higher education. In 2017 Oregon saw their most significant one-year growth in high school graduation rates over the prior eight years. Officials say the improvement is tied to helping remove barriers for Latino students. 

  • #30. Indiana
    22/ Derek Jensen // Wikicommons

    #30. Indiana

    Race gap
    Whites are 6% more likely than people of color to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; whites are 5.5% more likely than people of color to finish high school.
    —White: 20.8% bachelor's or higher; 11% do not finish high school
    —People of color: 14.7% bachelor's or higher; 16.5% do not finish high school
    —Black or African-American: 12.1% bachelor's or higher; 15.8% do not finish high school
    —American Indian and Alaska Native: 0% bachelor's or higher; 9.7% do not finish high school
    —Asian: 36.7% bachelor's or higher; 23.8% do not finish high school
    —Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander: 28.6% bachelor's or higher; 0% do not finish high school
    —Two or more races: 9.8% bachelor's or higher; 16.1% do not finish high school

    Gender gap
    Women are 2.4% more likely than men to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; men are 0.3% more likely than women to finish high school.
    —Female: 21.1% achieve bachelor's or higher; 11.9% do not finish high school
    —Male: 18.7% achieve bachelor's or higher; 11.6% do not finish high school

    Education disparity between races is considerable in Indiana, but a new push to privatize all education could make things worse. As of Spring 2018, Indiana had three separate programs that were designed to funnel tax dollars away from public schools, meaning the already under-funded districts were now receiving even less to take care of their students. Private schools in Indiana are also allowed to turn students away based on whether or not English was a student's first language, and they're allowed to discriminate based on a student's religious leanings. If things continue this way, it's entirely probable that the percentage of minorities who never finish high school, and who in turn aren't able to go to college, would increase dramatically.

  • #29. Michigan
    23/ Dwight Burdette // Wikicommons

    #29. Michigan

    Race gap
    Whites are 6.6% more likely than people of color to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; whites are 2.6% more likely than people of color to finish high school.
    —White: 26.4% bachelor's or higher; 10.5% do not finish high school
    —People of color: 19.8% bachelor's or higher; 13.1% do not finish high school
    —Black or African-American: 12.1% bachelor's or higher; 13.8% do not finish high school
    —American Indian and Alaska Native: 17.8% bachelor's or higher; 27% do not finish high school
    —Asian: 55.1% bachelor's or higher; 6.1% do not finish high school
    —Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander: 20.2% bachelor's or higher; 79.8% do not finish high school
    —Two or more races: 6.7% bachelor's or higher; 15.1% do not finish high school

    Gender gap
    Women are 2.5% more likely than men to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; men are 0.4% more likely than women to finish high school.
    —Female: 26.3% achieve bachelor's or higher; 11.2% do not finish high school
    —Male: 23.8% achieve bachelor's or higher; 10.8% do not finish high school

    One alarming statistic that census data uncovered was that nearly 80% of Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders over the age of 25 haven't graduated high school. The state only reported that there were 11,478 Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islanders living there, so the low high school graduation rate didn't have that major an impact on the state's overall average of minority high school graduates. 

  • #28. Missouri
    24/ Nyttend // Wikicommons

    #28. Missouri

    Race gap
    Whites are 6.7% more likely than people of color to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; whites are 2.1% more likely than people of color to finish high school.
    —White: 24.2% bachelor's or higher; 11.1% do not finish high school
    —People of color: 17.4% bachelor's or higher; 13.2% do not finish high school
    —Black or African-American: 14.2% bachelor's or higher; 13.1% do not finish high school
    —American Indian and Alaska Native: 15.8% bachelor's or higher; 24% do not finish high school
    —Asian: 45% bachelor's or higher; 13.5% do not finish high school
    —Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander: 0% bachelor's or higher; 21.5% do not finish high school
    —Two or more races: 17% bachelor's or higher; 6.9% do not finish high school

    Gender gap
    Women are 2.7% more likely than men to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; women are 4.2% more likely than men to finish high school.
    —Female: 24.3% achieve bachelor's or higher; 9.5% do not finish high school
    —Male: 21.6% achieve bachelor's or higher; 13.6% do not finish high school

    Ranked 35th for male high school dropouts and 30th for the number of men who earn a college degree, men in Missouri are far less likely to succeed academically than their peers. For women things look slightly better; the state ranks #15 for having the most female high school dropouts, and the number of college degree holders is smack in the middle, ranked #25. Minority groups struggle to gain a bachelor's or higher; a report from the University of Southern California Race and Equity Center gave Missouri a score of 1.68 out of 4. The study recommended that schools not only offer academic and financial resources to black students, but to also “address students’ encounters with racial microaggressions, racist stereotypes, erasure in the curriculum and overt forms of racism.”

  • #27. Ohio
    25/ Aesopposea // Wikicommons

    #27. Ohio

    Race gap
    Whites are 7.2% more likely than people of color to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; whites are 2.6% more likely than people of color to finish high school.
    —White: 23.6% bachelor's or higher; 9.5% do not finish high school
    —People of color: 16.4% bachelor's or higher; 12% do not finish high school
    —Black or African-American: 13.1% bachelor's or higher; 13.1% do not finish high school
    —American Indian and Alaska Native: 36.4% bachelor's or higher; 27.8% do not finish high school
    —Asian: 45.9% bachelor's or higher; 4.8% do not finish high school
    —Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander: data not included due to small population
    —Two or more races: 6.6% bachelor's or higher; 11.1% do not finish high school

    Gender gap
    Women are 2.3% more likely than men to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; women are 1% more likely than men to finish high school.
    —Female: 23.4% achieve bachelor's or higher; 9.4% do not finish high school
    —Male: 21.1% achieve bachelor's or higher; 10.4% do not finish high school

    Ohio has one of the most complicated school funding formulas in the nation. The end result is that the state's public schools, which educate about 90% of students, receive less money per student than charter schools. While many charter and private school students go on to a four-year college or university, many public school students, whose test scores are far worse than their counterparts, are not granted admission.

  • #26. Colorado
    26/ Technicalj // Wikicommons

    #26. Colorado

    Race gap
    Whites are 7.2% more likely than people of color to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; whites are 4.5% more likely than people of color to finish high school.
    —White: 34.2% bachelor's or higher; 9.7% do not finish high school
    —People of color: 27% bachelor's or higher; 14.2% do not finish high school
    —Black or African-American: 25.4% bachelor's or higher; 10.6% do not finish high school
    —American Indian and Alaska Native: 21.7% bachelor's or higher; 18.7% do not finish high school
    —Asian: 42.9% bachelor's or higher; 17.4% do not finish high school
    —Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander: data not included due to small population
    —Two or more races: 12.1% bachelor's or higher; 13.8% do not finish high school

    Gender gap
    Women are 0.4% more likely than men to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; women are 1.7% more likely than men to finish high school.
    —Female: 33.6% achieve bachelor's or higher; 9.4% do not finish high school
    —Male: 33.2% achieve bachelor's or higher; 11.1% do not finish high school

    When it comes to higher education, Colorado has found a formula that works—the high school dropout rate is the lowest its ever been state wide—but the system benefits white students more than minority groups. However, more minority students are finishing high school within four years. As for higher education, with the second highest number of men and women holding bachelor's degrees in the country, Colorado is also ranked #5 for the number of caucasians with a bachelor's degree or higher, and #8 for minorities with a bachelor's degree or higher. 

  • #25. California
    27/ DanScoJack86 // Wikicommons

    #25. California

    Race gap
    People of color are 7.3% more likely than whites to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; people of color are 3.9% more likely than whites to finish high school.
    —White: 23.8% bachelor's or higher; 15.7% do not finish high school
    —People of color: 31.1% bachelor's or higher; 11.8% do not finish high school
    —Black or African-American: 20% bachelor's or higher; 10.3% do not finish high school
    —American Indian and Alaska Native: 12.5% bachelor's or higher; 19.7% do not finish high school
    —Asian: 41.6% bachelor's or higher; 11% do not finish high school
    —Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander: 17.5% bachelor's or higher; 8.8% do not finish high school
    —Two or more races: 14.9% bachelor's or higher; 15.6% do not finish high school

    Gender gap
    Women are 0.2% more likely than men to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; women are 0.1% more likely than men to finish high school.
    —Female: 25.9% achieve bachelor's or higher; 14.6% do not finish high school
    —Male: 25.7% achieve bachelor's or higher; 14.7% do not finish high school

    The most diverse state in the nation, California's educational rankings are also wildly diverse. While it has the third-highest rate of white high school dropouts in the country, the state is also ranked second highest for minorities with bachelor's degrees or higher. One issue impacting the number of dropouts is overcrowding in classrooms. Many high school classrooms have 45 or more students, leaving little time for teachers to provide individual help and instruction for students who need it.

  • #24. Maine
    28/ BMRR // Wikicommons

    #24. Maine

    Race gap
    Whites are 7.5% more likely than people of color to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; people of color are 2.7% more likely than whites to finish high school.
    —White: 24% bachelor's or higher; 9.7% do not finish high school
    —People of color: 16.5% bachelor's or higher; 7% do not finish high school
    —Black or African-American: 18.5% bachelor's or higher; 5.6% do not finish high school
    —American Indian and Alaska Native: data not included due to small population
    —Asian: 31.9% bachelor's or higher; 0% do not finish high school
    —Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander: data not included due to small population
    —Two or more races: 10.1% bachelor's or higher; 9.7% do not finish high school

    Gender gap
    Women are 3.5% more likely than men to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; women are 3.4% more likely than men to finish high school.
    —Female: 25.1% achieve bachelor's or higher; 7.8% do not finish high school
    —Male: 21.7% achieve bachelor's or higher; 11.2% do not finish high school

    Maine ranks #1 for having the most minority students drop out of high school. Though in many schools around the state, minority enrollment in AP classes has nearly quadrupled over the last four years, a trend that isn't seen anywhere else in the country. To increase graduation rates at the higher education level, the University of Maine at Presque Isle has begun proficiency-based learning, as well as rethinking the concept of a failing grade, which helps many students save time and money: Students get 45 days to raise their "not proficient" mark to a passing grade. 

  • #23. Tennessee
    29/ Ichabod // Wikicommons

    #23. Tennessee

    Race gap
    Whites are 7.5% more likely than people of color to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; whites are 2.8% more likely than people of color to finish high school.
    —White: 24.8% bachelor's or higher; 10.3% do not finish high school
    —People of color: 17.3% bachelor's or higher; 13.2% do not finish high school
    —Black or African-American: 14.3% bachelor's or higher; 13.6% do not finish high school
    —American Indian and Alaska Native: 57.5% bachelor's or higher; 0% do not finish high school
    —Asian: 45.4% bachelor's or higher; 2.7% do not finish high school
    —Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander: 12.4% bachelor's or higher; 39.1% do not finish high school
    —Two or more races: 11.3% bachelor's or higher; 17.9% do not finish high school

    Gender gap
    Women are 1.9% more likely than men to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; women are 1.4% more likely than men to finish high school.
    —Female: 24.1% achieve bachelor's or higher; 10.3% do not finish high school
    —Male: 22.2% achieve bachelor's or higher; 11.7% do not finish high school

    One way the state plans to close the racial gap and become a national leader in education is by stressing teacher retention. Tennessee's lowest performing schools have high teacher turnover rates (some schools near the 50% mark) and a new evaluation system is currently being implemented in an attempt to ensure that the best teachers are held on to and are compensated accordingly.

  • #22. Oklahoma
    30/ Patrick Moore // Wikicommons

    #22. Oklahoma

    Race gap
    Whites are 7.7% more likely than people of color to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; whites are 4% more likely than people of color to finish high school.
    —White: 21.8% bachelor's or higher; 12.6% do not finish high school
    —People of color: 14.1% bachelor's or higher; 16.7% do not finish high school
    —Black or African-American: 13.6% bachelor's or higher; 17.4% do not finish high school
    —American Indian and Alaska Native: 11.1% bachelor's or higher; 15.9% do not finish high school
    —Asian: 32% bachelor's or higher; 23.4% do not finish high school
    —Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander: 76.4% bachelor's or higher; 0% do not finish high school
    —Two or more races: 11.9% bachelor's or higher; 15.3% do not finish high school

    Gender gap
    Women are 2% more likely than men to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; women are 0.1% more likely than men to finish high school.
    —Female: 20.8% achieve bachelor's or higher; 13.6% do not finish high school
    —Male: 18.8% achieve bachelor's or higher; 13.7% do not finish high school

    After the Education Department's Office for Civil Rights in 2015 discovered disparities between how white and black students were being disproportionately punished in elementary, middle, and high schools, Oklahoma City's school district implemented new discipline codes to cut down on suspensions. Notably Oklahoma has the highest percentage of Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islanders with a bachelor's degree, even beating Hawaii, where only 9.6% of the demographic holds a college degree. However, overall the state still has some work to do, ranking 38 out of 50 for minorities with a bachelor's degree or higher.

  • #21. Mississippi
    31/ Tim Burkitt // Wikicommons

    #21. Mississippi

    Race gap
    Whites are 7.8% more likely than people of color to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; whites are 3.2% more likely than people of color to finish high school.
    —White: 19.9% bachelor's or higher; 14.2% do not finish high school
    —People of color: 12.1% bachelor's or higher; 17.4% do not finish high school
    —Black or African-American: 12% bachelor's or higher; 17.1% do not finish high school
    —American Indian and Alaska Native: 20% bachelor's or higher; 10.4% do not finish high school
    —Asian: 37.3% bachelor's or higher; 17.3% do not finish high school
    —Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander: 20.4% bachelor's or higher; 0% do not finish high school
    —Two or more races: 2.3% bachelor's or higher; 28.3% do not finish high school

    Gender gap
    Women are 6.2% more likely than men to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; women are 3.2% more likely than men to finish high school.
    —Female: 19.8% achieve bachelor's or higher; 13.9% do not finish high school
    —Male: 13.5% achieve bachelor's or higher; 17.1% do not finish high school

    According to a recent report by the Southern Poverty Law Center, all of Mississippi's “F-rated” school districts have a majority of black students while all of their “A-rated” districts are at least 70% white. Additionally, the Mississippi Department of Education reported that there was a 29% achievement gap between black and white students. These statistics are clearly indicative of a public education system that harbors a major education disparity, one that needs to be addressed before they begin to see a decline in enrollment altogether.

  • #20. Florida
    32/ Scapler // Wikicommons

    #20. Florida

    Race gap
    Whites are 7.9% more likely than people of color to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; whites are 2.9% more likely than people of color to finish high school.
    —White: 26.1% bachelor's or higher; 10.3% do not finish high school
    —People of color: 18.2% bachelor's or higher; 13.1% do not finish high school
    —Black or African-American: 15.1% bachelor's or higher; 12.8% do not finish high school
    —American Indian and Alaska Native: 17.3% bachelor's or higher; 11.9% do not finish high school
    —Asian: 35.9% bachelor's or higher; 12.2% do not finish high school
    —Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander: 14.4% bachelor's or higher; 38.9% do not finish high school
    —Two or more races: 23.7% bachelor's or higher; 14.9% do not finish high school

    Gender gap
    Women are 0.7% more likely than men to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; women are 1.4% more likely than men to finish high school.
    —Female: 24.8% achieve bachelor's or higher; 10.2% do not finish high school
    —Male: 24.1% achieve bachelor's or higher; 11.6% do not finish high school

    Florida is the 19th best state in the nation at graduating white students with a bachelor's degree or higher and the 23rd best for minorities who hold bachelor's degrees or higher. In a state that's recently been in the spotlight for racial issues—including using gerrymandering to keep minorities votes from being heard—it's perhaps not surprising that there is a large amount of educational disparity along racial lines.

  • #19. Delaware
    33/ Smallbones // Wikicommons

    #19. Delaware

    Race gap
    Whites are 8.2% more likely than people of color to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; whites are 0.3% more likely than people of color to finish high school.
    —White: 26.3% bachelor's or higher; 12.1% do not finish high school
    —People of color: 18% bachelor's or higher; 12.4% do not finish high school
    —Black or African-American: 14.5% bachelor's or higher; 14% do not finish high school
    —American Indian and Alaska Native: data not included due to small population
    —Asian: 49.1% bachelor's or higher; 6.1% do not finish high school
    —Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander: data not included due to small population
    —Two or more races: 3.1% bachelor's or higher; 11.8% do not finish high school

    Gender gap
    Women are 3.5% more likely than men to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; women are 2% more likely than men to finish high school.
    —Female: 25.2% achieve bachelor's or higher; 11.3% do not finish high school
    —Male: 21.7% achieve bachelor's or higher; 13.3% do not finish high school

    Overall, white people are only slightly more likely to graduate from high school in Delaware than people of color, despite the fact that the state is ranked #15 for having the most minority students drop out of high school. As for higher education, Delaware is near the middle of states (ranked #24) when it comes to minorities earning bachelor's degrees or higher. A report by the University of Delaware's Delaware Black Community Research Project "found racial disparities in educational outcomes, employment, income distribution, and housing remains a severe issue in Delaware." 

  • #18. Wisconsin
    34/ Rauglothgor // Wikicommons

    #18. Wisconsin

    Race gap
    Whites are 8.3% more likely than people of color to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; whites are 7.5% more likely than people of color to finish high school.
    —White: 20.9% bachelor's or higher; 9.7% do not finish high school
    —People of color: 12.6% bachelor's or higher; 17.2% do not finish high school
    —Black or African-American: 9.7% bachelor's or higher; 19% do not finish high school
    —American Indian and Alaska Native: 3.4% bachelor's or higher; 27.6% do not finish high school
    —Asian: 28.4% bachelor's or higher; 13.8% do not finish high school
    —Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander: data not included due to small population
    —Two or more races: 7.1% bachelor's or higher; 12.1% do not finish high school

    Gender gap
    Women are 2.9% more likely than men to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; women are 0.2% more likely than men to finish high school.
    —Female: 21.4% achieve bachelor's or higher; 10.6% do not finish high school
    —Male: 18.5% achieve bachelor's or higher; 10.7% do not finish high school

    The national average for minorities with a bachelor's degree or higher is 22.5%, but in Wisconsin, the average for minorities is 12.6%—just about half. Those of Asian descent are the most likely to earn a four-year college degree (28.4% of them do) while American Indians and Alaska Natives are the least likely (only 3.4% of this group have completed a four-year degree). In 2017 Wisconsin had the biggest gap in high school graduation rates between black and white students—for the third consecutive year.

  • #17. Louisiana
    35/ Z28srambler // Wikicommons

    #17. Louisiana

    Race gap
    Whites are 8.4% more likely than people of color to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; whites are 5.7% more likely than people of color to finish high school.
    —White: 19.6% bachelor's or higher; 13.4% do not finish high school
    —People of color: 11.3% bachelor's or higher; 19.1% do not finish high school
    —Black or African-American: 10.7% bachelor's or higher; 19.3% do not finish high school
    —American Indian and Alaska Native: 2.1% bachelor's or higher; 15.7% do not finish high school
    —Asian: 25.4% bachelor's or higher; 18.3% do not finish high school
    —Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander: data not included due to small population
    —Two or more races: 7.4% bachelor's or higher; 15.6% do not finish high school

    Gender gap
    Women are 2.2% more likely than men to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; women are 1.7% more likely than men to finish high school.
    —Female: 17.6% achieve bachelor's or higher; 14.7% do not finish high school
    —Male: 15.4% achieve bachelor's or higher; 16.4% do not finish high school

    In an article published by Brookings in 1998, Louisiana was among the states that had been found to have major racial disparities when it comes to education: "from qualified teachers to curriculum offerings—schools serving greater numbers of students of color had significantly fewer resources than schools serving mostly white students." Coming in at #17 on this list of schools ranked from having the least to the most educational disparities, indicates the state may not have made much progress in the past two decades. A lack of diversity among teachers in the state has raised concern for Louisiana's Department of Education, which comes alongside a teacher shortage statewide. Educators suggest a lack of diversity in teaching staff can negatively impact students.

  • #16. Kansas
    36/ Steve Meirowsky // Wikicommons

    #16. Kansas

    Race gap
    Whites are 8.4% more likely than people of color to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; whites are 2.9% more likely than people of color to finish high school.
    —White: 25.8% bachelor's or higher; 11% do not finish high school
    —People of color: 17.5% bachelor's or higher; 14% do not finish high school
    —Black or African-American: 17.8% bachelor's or higher; 14.2% do not finish high school
    —American Indian and Alaska Native: 12.7% bachelor's or higher; 14.2% do not finish high school
    —Asian: 30.5% bachelor's or higher; 25.3% do not finish high school
    —Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander: Data not included due to small population
    —Two or more races: 10.6% bachelor's or higher; 7.1% do not finish high school

    Gender gap
    Women are 3.8% more likely than men to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; men are 0.1% more likely than women to finish high school.
    —Female: 26.5% achieve bachelor's or higher; 11.4% do not finish high school
    —Male: 22.8% achieve bachelor's or higher; 11.4% do not finish high school

    In October 2018, the Kansas Supreme Court ruled that the state's public school system was inadequately funded on two counts. First, there wasn't enough money available to provide students with a “quality” education, and second, that funding wasn't equitable, or able to provide children from poorer districts with an education equal to those in wealthier districts. The state legislature has until April 2019 to fix the budget, and experts are hoping that the revamped funding plan will help to close the gap.

  • #15. Minnesota
    37/ McGhiever // Wikicommons

    #15. Minnesota

    Race gap
    Whites are 8.5% more likely than people of color to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; whites are 8.9% more likely than people of color to finish high school.
    —White: 25.6% bachelor's or higher; 8.1% do not finish high school
    —People of color: 17.1% bachelor's or higher; 17% do not finish high school
    —Black or African-American: 7.1% bachelor's or higher; 13.2% do not finish high school
    —American Indian and Alaska Native: 12.7% bachelor's or higher; 19.6% do not finish high school
    —Asian: 34% bachelor's or higher; 18.9% do not finish high school
    —Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander: 0% bachelor's or higher; 32.7% do not finish high school
    —Two or more races: 6.4% bachelor's or higher; 20.2% do not finish high school

    Gender gap
    Women are 3.9% more likely than men to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; men are 1.5% more likely than women to finish high school.
    —Female: 26.2% achieve bachelor's or higher; 10.3% do not finish high school
    —Male: 22.3% achieve bachelor's or higher; 8.8% do not finish high school

    A 2015 lawsuit against local schools and officials in St. Paul alleged that policies in the state encourage segregation and worsen the achievement gap, with the plaintiffs arguing that minority and poor students tend to "end up concentrated in schools without enough resources to meet the academic and personal challenges they face." Former Gov. Mark Dayton said in 2017 that recent numbers showed disparities were closing in the public school system. However, in 2018 the Minnesota Department of Human Rights began investigating schools with discipline disparities for students of color and students with disabilities, releasing a list of the 43 worst offending charter schools and districts—and helping many of the schools create action plans to improve.   

  • #14. Wyoming
    38/ Wyoguy15 // Wikicommons

    #14. Wyoming

    Race gap
    Whites are 8.9% more likely than people of color to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; whites are 1.4% more likely than people of color to finish high school.
    —White: 18.1% bachelor's or higher; 9.5% do not finish high school
    —People of color: 9.3% bachelor's or higher; 10.9% do not finish high school
    —Black or African-American: 3.4% bachelor's or higher; 9.1% do not finish high school
    —American Indian and Alaska Native: 3.4% bachelor's or higher; 12.9% do not finish high school
    —Asian: data not included due to small population
    —Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander: data not included due to small population
    —Two or more races: 10% bachelor's or higher; 7.5% do not finish high school

    Gender gap
    Women are 3% more likely than men to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; women are 2.1% more likely than men to finish high school.
    —Female: 18.9% achieve bachelor's or higher; 8.6% do not finish high school
    —Male: 16% achieve bachelor's or higher; 10.6% do not finish high school

    Wyoming gets a paltry amount of federal financial aid for higher education students each year—$132 million. This may be the biggest reason they rank 49th out of 50 for minority bachelor's degree graduates, 44th for men with a bachelor's degree, and 47th for women with a bachelor's degree. Still, the picture looks better for whites than people of color. 

  • #13. North Carolina
    39/ JoannaSerah // Wikicommons

    #13. North Carolina

    Race gap
    Whites are 8.9% more likely than people of color to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; whites are 0.3% more likely than people of color to finish high school.
    —White: 26.8% bachelor's or higher; 13.1% do not finish high school
    —People of color: 17.9% bachelor's or higher; 13.5% do not finish high school
    —Black or African-American: 16.5% bachelor's or higher; 13.3% do not finish high school
    —American Indian and Alaska Native: 6.6% bachelor's or higher; 20.4% do not finish high school
    —Asian: 41.5% bachelor's or higher; 7.7% do not finish high school
    —Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander: 6.6% bachelor's or higher; 11.5% do not finish high school
    —Two or more races: 16.5% bachelor's or higher; 14% do not finish high school

    Gender gap
    Women are 4.3% more likely than men to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; women are 2.8% more likely than men to finish high school.
    —Female: 26.2% achieve bachelor's or higher; 11.8% do not finish high school
    —Male: 22% achieve bachelor's or higher; 14.6% do not finish high school

    While there is not a massive gap between the rate at which whites and people of color graduate from high school, whites are 8.9% more likely to complete a bachelor's degree or higher than minority groups—the same as Wyoming. A report released in January 2018, "Accelerating the Pace: The Future of Education in the American South," found that states in the southern half of the U.S. deal with "historic inequities in education," and that "student performance varies widely by race and income."

  • #12. Maryland
    40/ Wallstreehotrod // Wikicommons

    #12. Maryland

    Race gap
    Whites are 9% more likely than people of color to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; whites are 1.5% more likely than people of color to finish high school.
    —White: 36% bachelor's or higher; 9.5% do not finish high school
    —People of color: 27.1% bachelor's or higher; 11% do not finish high school
    —Black or African-American: 24.2% bachelor's or higher; 10.9% do not finish high school
    —American Indian and Alaska Native: 37.5% bachelor's or higher; 22.3% do not finish high school
    —Asian: 45.4% bachelor's or higher; 10.1% do not finish high school
    —Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander: 15.5% bachelor's or higher; 54.8% do not finish high school
    —Two or more races: 14.8% bachelor's or higher; 8.5% do not finish high school

    Gender gap
    Women are 0.4% more likely than men to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; women are 1.6% more likely than men to finish high school.
    —Female: 32.6% achieve bachelor's or higher; 9.3% do not finish high school
    —Male: 32.2% achieve bachelor's or higher; 10.9% do not finish high school

    Maryland is above the national averages for whites and minorities with bachelor's degrees or higher, but the gap between the two shows a significant disparity in education, despite the state being home to some of the wealthiest African-American communities in the country. Ranked #2 for the number of whites with college degrees, Maryland is comes in at #7 for minorities with four-year degrees.

  • #11. Alabama
    41/ Austin Roberts // Wikicommons

    #11. Alabama

    Race gap
    Whites are 9.2% more likely than people of color to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; whites are 2.2% more likely than people of color to finish high school.
    —White: 22.6% bachelor's or higher; 13.1% do not finish high school
    —People of color: 13.4% bachelor's or higher; 15.2% do not finish high school
    —Black or African-American: 13.1% bachelor's or higher; 15.6% do not finish high school
    —American Indian and Alaska Native: 11.8% bachelor's or higher; 18.6% do not finish high school
    —Asian: 32.1% bachelor's or higher; 14.4% do not finish high school
    —Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander: 21% bachelor's or higher; 24.7% do not finish high school
    —Two or more races: 4.5% bachelor's or higher; 8.1% do not finish high school

    Gender gap
    Women are 0.8% more likely than men to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; women are 0.8% more likely than men to finish high school.
    —Female: 20.2% achieve bachelor's or higher; 13.3% do not finish high school
    —Male: 19.3% achieve bachelor's or higher; 14.2% do not finish high school

    Since 2008, funding for K-12 and public higher education in Alabama has dropped by over $1 billion. A bill passed in Spring 2018 allocated an additional $216 million to school funding, but experts worry that it won't be enough to generate the kinds of changes Alabama needs to see. An ongoing series by AL.com, "Tackling the Gap," talks to four black students in Jefferson County schools about barriers they face, including "how some teachers evaluated their educational success and character through the lens of racial biases and how the lack of opportunities for advance coursework can feed the achievement gap."

  • #10. New York
    42/ D-Day // Wikicommons

    #10. New York

    Race gap
    Whites are 10.7% more likely than people of color to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; whites are 6.6% more likely than people of color to finish high school.
    —White: 33.4% bachelor's or higher; 9.6% do not finish high school
    —People of color: 22.6% bachelor's or higher; 16.2% do not finish high school
    —Black or African-American: 18.2% bachelor's or higher; 15.8% do not finish high school
    —American Indian and Alaska Native: 9.5% bachelor's or higher; 23.4% do not finish high school
    —Asian: 32.3% bachelor's or higher; 16.1% do not finish high school
    —Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander: 39.9% bachelor's or higher; 0% do not finish high school
    —Two or more races: 16.2% bachelor's or higher; 18.5% do not finish high school

    Gender gap
    Women are 1.3% more likely than men to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; men are 0.7% more likely than women to finish high school.
    —Female: 30.7% achieve bachelor's or higher; 12% do not finish high school
    —Male: 29.4% achieve bachelor's or higher; 11.3% do not finish high school

    New York may be one of the most diverse states in the nation, but that doesn't mean they've been able to ensure residents of all races are afforded equal educational opportunities. Even with an average of $23,000 spent per student—the highest average per-student spending in the country—money isn't distributed equally throughout the state. Public schools in upstate New York, enrollment for which has declined over the last five years, still receive the same amount of funding, while public schools in some of the outer boroughs of NYC that have seen enrollment boom over the last five years, haven't seen any jump in the amount of funding received. This leaves many students in New York State without the “sound basic education” they need to succeed.

  • #9. New Mexico
    43/ J Dykstra // Wikicommons

    #9. New Mexico

    Race gap
    Whites are 11.5% more likely than people of color to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; whites are 0.9% more likely than people of color to finish high school.
    —White: 21.6% bachelor's or higher; 13.2% do not finish high school
    —People of color: 10.1% bachelor's or higher; 14.1% do not finish high school
    —Black or African-American: 19.9% bachelor's or higher; 8.5% do not finish high school
    —American Indian and Alaska Native: 5.2% bachelor's or higher; 15.9% do not finish high school
    —Asian: 39.9% bachelor's or higher; 10% do not finish high school
    —Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander: data not included due to small population
    —Two or more races: 8.1% bachelor's or higher; 13.7% do not finish high school

    Gender gap
    Women are 2.8% more likely than men to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; women are 1.1% more likely than men to finish high school.
    —Female: 20.6% achieve bachelor's or higher; 12.9% do not finish high school
    —Male: 17.9% achieve bachelor's or higher; 13.9% do not finish high school

    According to recent data, students in New Mexico get less federal financial aid for higher education than in any other state. Only 73,700 students received any federal financial aid, averaging at $8,206 per individual. This is reflected in the fact that only 10.1% of people of color, who are statistically more likely to apply for and require federal financial aid in order to attend college, hold a bachelor's degree or higher, which is far below the national average.

  • #8. North Dakota
    44/ Expand // Wikicommons

    #8. North Dakota

    Race gap
    Whites are 11.7% more likely than people of color to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; whites are 8.8% more likely than people of color to finish high school.
    —White: 23.2% bachelor's or higher; 7.9% do not finish high school
    —People of color: 11.5% bachelor's or higher; 16.7% do not finish high school
    —Black or African-American: 12.7% bachelor's or higher; 18.7% do not finish high school
    —American Indian and Alaska Native: 7.1% bachelor's or higher; 20.9% do not finish high school
    —Asian: 39.7% bachelor's or higher; 7.5% do not finish high school
    —Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander: data not included due to small population
    —Two or more races: 7.7% bachelor's or higher; 12.5% do not finish high school

    Gender gap
    Women are 4.8% more likely than men to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; women are 1.2% more likely than men to finish high school.
    —Female: 24% achieve bachelor's or higher; 8.5% do not finish high school
    —Male: 19.2% achieve bachelor's or higher; 9.7% do not finish high school

    Only 11.5% of people of color get a bachelor's degree or higher, which is a considerable amount below the national average. This may be in large part due to the fact that North Dakota is granted the fourth smallest amount of federal financial aid for higher education out of all 50 states. With only $203.8 million in funding, North Dakota can only help an average of 22,700 students each year—the entire K-12 education system in the state has a little over 100,000 students in it.

  • #7. Rhode Island
    45/ Kenneth Zirkel // Wikicommons

    #7. Rhode Island

    Race gap
    Whites are 11.8% more likely than people of color to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; whites are 5.6% more likely than people of color to finish high school.
    —White: 27.7% bachelor's or higher; 11.9% do not finish high school
    —People of color: 15.9% bachelor's or higher; 17.4% do not finish high school
    —Black or African-American: 15.8% bachelor's or higher; 10.7% do not finish high school
    —American Indian and Alaska Native: 5.3% bachelor's or higher; 31.1% do not finish high school
    —Asian: 32.1% bachelor's or higher; 24.6% do not finish high school
    —Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander: 6.7% bachelor's or higher; 47.9% do not finish high school
    —Two or more races: 6.2% bachelor's or higher; 12% do not finish high school

    Gender gap
    Men are 0.2% more likely than women to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; men are 0.2% more likely than women to finish high school.
    —Female: 25.8% achieve bachelor's or higher; 12.8% do not finish high school
    —Male: 26% achieve bachelor's or higher; 12.6% do not finish high school

    Rhode Island is the smallest state in the union, with almost five times as many white residents as minority residents. The education disparity in the state is grim, with nearly 50% of Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islanders not finishing high school versus just 11.9% of white residents who don't obtain a high school diploma. As far as public education goes, Rhode Island ranks 41st in the nation for the amount it invests in public higher education, leaving students to shoulder 66% of the tuition burden for in-state colleges. Not surprisingly, averages for most minority students with bachelor's degrees or higher in the state are well below national averages.

  • #6. South Dakota
    46/ AlexiusHoratius // Wikicommons

    #6. South Dakota

    Race gap
    Whites are 12.3% more likely than people of color to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; whites are 14.6% more likely than people of color to finish high school.
    —White: 22.3% bachelor's or higher; 10.4% do not finish high school
    —People of color: 10% bachelor's or higher; 25% do not finish high school
    —Black or African-American: 6% bachelor's or higher; 34.8% do not finish high school
    —American Indian and Alaska Native: 10.5% bachelor's or higher; 26.3% do not finish high school
    —Asian: 18.7% bachelor's or higher; 18.5% do not finish high school
    —Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander: data not included due to small population
    —Two or more races: 3% bachelor's or higher; 11.4% do not finish high school

    Gender gap
    Women are 4% more likely than men to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; women are 3.6% more likely than men to finish high school.
    —Female: 22.2% achieve bachelor's or higher; 11% do not finish high school
    —Male: 18.2% achieve bachelor's or higher; 14.6% do not finish high school

    A mere 10% of the minorities in South Dakota have a bachelor's degree or higher, and a quarter of minorities don't graduate from high school. It recently came to light that over the last three years, Sioux Falls, the state's largest school district, had eight civil rights cases filed against it while Rapid City Area Schools, the state's second largest district, had 14 filed over the same period. 

     

  • #5. Connecticut
    47/ WestportWiki // Wikicommons

    #5. Connecticut

    Race gap
    Whites are 13.9% more likely than people of color to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; whites are 4.4% more likely than people of color to finish high school.
    —White: 35.2% bachelor's or higher; 10.2% do not finish high school
    —People of color: 21.3% bachelor's or higher; 14.6% do not finish high school
    —Black or African-American: 14.8% bachelor's or higher; 18.4% do not finish high school
    —American Indian and Alaska Native: data not included due to small population
    —Asian: 41.9% bachelor's or higher; 6.1% do not finish high school
    —Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander: 45.3% bachelor's or higher; 0% do not finish high school
    —Two or more races: 11.8% bachelor's or higher; 13.9% do not finish high school

    Gender gap
    Women are 0.3% more likely than men to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; women are 1.4% more likely than men to finish high school.
    —Female: 32.6% achieve bachelor's or higher; 10.4% do not finish high school
    —Male: 32.3% achieve bachelor's or higher; 11.8% do not finish high school

    With the third highest percentage of whites holding bachelor's degrees, the third highest percentage of men with a bachelor's degree or higher, and the fourth highest percentage of women with a bachelor's degree or higher, the education of most white students fares well. For people of color, the story looks a little different: 14.6% of minorities in the state don't have a high school diploma, and another 78.7% don't have a bachelor's degree. One possible explanation for the disparity is a lack of representation. Until 2018, 23 school districts didn't have a single person of color on staff; studies have shown that there is a significant correlation between having a teacher who looks like you and performance.

  • #4. Montana
    48/ Robstutz // Wikicommons

    #4. Montana

    Race gap
    Whites are 15.5% more likely than people of color to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; whites are 7.9% more likely than people of color to finish high school.
    —White: 25.8% bachelor's or higher; 7.4% do not finish high school
    —People of color: 10.3% bachelor's or higher; 15.3% do not finish high school
    —Black or African-American: 13.8% bachelor's or higher; 9.2% do not finish high school
    —American Indian and Alaska Native: 9.6% bachelor's or higher; 17.6% do not finish high school
    —Asian: 21.4% bachelor's or higher; 3% do not finish high school
    —Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander: data not included due to small population
    —Two or more races: 6% bachelor's or higher; 16.7% do not finish high school

    Gender gap
    Women are 4% more likely than men to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; women are 2.5% more likely than men to finish high school.
    —Female: 26.5% achieve bachelor's or higher; 6.7% do not finish high school
    —Male: 22.5% achieve bachelor's or higher; 9.2% do not finish high school

    The rate of people of color attaining a bachelor's degree or higher is well below the national average while the rate of white people with a higher-education degree is higher than the national average (25.6%). The House Education Committee in January 2019 voted unanimously to pass a bill to provide $1.6 billion over the next two year to schools statewide.

  • #3. South Carolina
    49/ Bill Fitzpatrick // Wikicommons

    #3. South Carolina

    Race gap
    Whites are 15.7% more likely than people of color to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; whites are 6.4% more likely than people of color to finish high school.
    —White: 27.9% bachelor's or higher; 9.9% do not finish high school
    —People of color: 12.2% bachelor's or higher; 16.3% do not finish high school
    —Black or African-American: 11.6% bachelor's or higher; 15.9% do not finish high school
    —American Indian and Alaska Native: 0% bachelor's or higher; 43% do not finish high school
    —Asian: 35.7% bachelor's or higher; 8.6% do not finish high school
    —Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander: data not included due to small population
    —Two or more races: 9.4% bachelor's or higher; 24.4% do not finish high school

    Gender gap
    Women are 1.9% more likely than men to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; women are 0.9% more likely than men to finish high school.
    —Female: 24% achieve bachelor's or higher; 11.4% do not finish high school
    —Male: 22.2% achieve bachelor's or higher; 12.3% do not finish high school

    American Indians and Alaska Natives compose 0.5% of South Carolina's population (12,359), but they make up 0% of South Carolina's bachelor's degree holding population and 43% of this community drops out of high school before graduating. This statistic is just another example of how the American public school system is systematically failing American Indians and Alaska Natives. The drop-out rate for this minority group is twice the national average—a crisis that experts say is likely spurred on by discrimination and a lack of representation.

  • #2. Alaska
    50/ RadioKAOS // Wikicommons

    #2. Alaska

    Race gap
    Whites are 16.5% more likely than people of color to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; whites are 8.8% more likely than people of color to finish high school.
    —White: 25.4% bachelor's or higher; 6.2% do not finish high school
    —People of color: 8.9% bachelor's or higher; 15% do not finish high school
    —Black or African-American: 16.1% bachelor's or higher; 23.1% do not finish high school
    —American Indian and Alaska Native: 6.3% bachelor's or higher; 14.9% do not finish high school
    —Asian: 17.7% bachelor's or higher; 14.9% do not finish high school
    —Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander: 4.3% bachelor's or higher; 8.5% do not finish high school
    —Two or more races: 6.2% bachelor's or higher; 13.9% do not finish high school

    Gender gap
    Women are 7.4% more likely than men to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; women are 4.5% more likely than men to finish high school.
    —Female: 22.9% achieve bachelor's or higher; 7.4% do not finish high school
    —Male: 15.4% achieve bachelor's or higher; 11.9% do not finish high school

    Out of all 50 states, minorities in Alaska are the least likely to have a bachelor's degree. One probable reason for that is the poor public school system in the state. In 2017, more than half of Alaska's students failed to receive passing grades on statewide standardized tests. The breakdown by district saw a clear distinction between passing grades and districts that receive more money.

  • #1. Hawaii
    51/ Joel Bradshaw // Wikicommons

    #1. Hawaii

    Race gap
    Whites are 18.6% more likely than people of color to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; whites are 5.2% more likely than people of color to finish high school.
    —White: 42.4% bachelor's or higher; 3.5% do not finish high school
    —People of color: 23.7% bachelor's or higher; 8.8% do not finish high school
    —Black or African-American: 24.1% bachelor's or higher; 2.2% do not finish high school
    —American Indian and Alaska Native: 10.1% bachelor's or higher; 11.1% do not finish high school
    —Asian: 34.4% bachelor's or higher; 7.3% do not finish high school
    —Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander: 9.6% bachelor's or higher; 12.1% do not finish high school
    —Two or more races: 13.8% bachelor's or higher; 9.6% do not finish high school

    Gender gap
    Women are 3.6% more likely than men to graduate with a bachelor's or higher; men are 0.4% more likely than women to finish high school.
    —Female: 29.4% achieve bachelor's or higher; 7.8% do not finish high school
    —Male: 25.9% achieve bachelor's or higher; 7.4% do not finish high school

    As of July 1, 2018, there were just over 1.42 million people living in Hawaii, a quarter of them white. Hawaii also has a single, statewide school district. White people are significantly more likely to graduate from high school and college here, but why? Hawaiian public schools are both understaffed and grossly underfunded. Wealthier families are often able to afford to send their children to private schools: 1 in 5 children in Hawaii attend a private school—the largest ratio in any state—allowing them to graduate with the foundation they need to move on to college. It is also worth noting that Hawaii has the highest number of white bachelor's degree holders out of any state in America, but ranks #14 for non-whites with bachelor's degrees or higher. 

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