Skip to primary navigation Skip to main content

Racial divide grows wider in Buffalo's graduation rates

There's been a whole lot of talk lately about Buffalo's 25 percent four-year graduation rate for black males, as reported by the Schott Foundation.

That's the number that's probably most often cited by parents and others in the community as they outline the urgent need for school reforms.

It's also a number that you will not find anywhere in the data released by the State Education Department this week. While the state does break down graduation rates by race, it does not break down the data by gender groups within racial groups.

There's a whole process the Schott Foundation uses to calculate that black male graduation rate, and it's not simple. That's why they come out with such a study only once every two years.

At any rate, if you take the time to dig through all the graduation data the state has released over the past few years, what you find is that it's possible to do only a limited comparison of graduation rates across racial groups.

I could find only three years of racial breakdown of the data.

Two years ago, 50 percent of black students in Buffalo graduated in four years, compared to 60 percent of white students.

The most recent data -- for the Class of 2010 -- shows that 45 percent of black students in Buffalo graduated in four years, compared to 58 percent of white students.

Here's what the more complete breakdown looks like for the Buffalo Public Schools:

    2008   2009   2010
Am. Indian   51%   60%   n/a
Asian   68%   n/a   48%
Black   50%   51%   45%
Hispanic   40%   43%   40%
White   60%   60%   58%


- Mary Pasciak

E-mail me at or follow me on Follow  SchoolZoneBlog on Twitter Twitter. Check out the Buffalo News' education page at

comments powered by Disqus

About School Zone

Denise Jewell Gee

Denise Jewell Gee

Denise Jewell Gee joined The Buffalo News in 2007 and currently covers education and suburban schools. She also writes a column for the City & Region section and previously covered government in Erie County and Niagara Falls. Gee graduated from Boston University with degrees in journalism and political science.

@denisejewellgee |

Tiffany Lankes

Tiffany Lankes

Tiffany Lankes joined The Buffalo News in 2013 and primarily covers the Buffalo Public Schools. She has written about education since 2003 at newspapers in Florida and New York. In 2008, she was a nominated finalist for The Pulitzer Prize. Lankes is an Amherst native and graduate of Sacred Heart Academy and Syracuse University. She started her journalism career writing for the News’ NeXt section.

@TiffanyLankes |

Sandra Tan

Sandra Tan

Sandra Tan has been a cityside reporter for The Buffalo News since 2000 and currently covers the Buffalo Public Schools beat. She previously covered the Williamsville school district and was a full-time education reporter for five years prior to joining The News. She graduated from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.

@BNschoolzone |

Deidre Williams

Deidre Williams

Deidre Williams began working for The Buffalo News in 1999 and currently covers Buffalo Public Schools. She formerly was a suburban reporter on the Northtowns beat and has been a cityside reporter covering communities since 2004. Williams has a mass communications degree from Towson University.

@DeidreWilliamsB |