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“Homeless” Students Graduate Faster Than Most at City Schools

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Not everybody who attends Richmond Public Schools graduates on time. About half don't graduate at all. But if you happen to attend Richmond Public Schools, you'd better hope you're homeless — or so the statistics would suggest.

Seems 70 percent of students categorized as homeless in Richmond schools graduated within the normal four years it takes to graduate, according to Virginia Department of Education 2008 statistics for on-time graduation rates, announced Oct. 8.

The homeless category accounts for all homeless students, be they male or female, black or white. And it's one of the few categories where Richmond students outpaced the state average, where fewer than 60 percent of homeless students graduated on time. It also beats Richmond's overall on-time graduation rate of 64.2 percent (the state's overall on-time graduation rate is 81.3 percent). In the broad category of males, 58.8 percent of students graduate on time.

Statewide, 69.8 percent of students classified as disadvantaged walk the stage with the kids they started ninth grade with, compared to 49.1 percent in Richmond. Since 70 percent of all Richmond schools students are classified as disadvantaged, that means fewer than half of those students graduated on time — if they made it to graduation at all.

But there's good news for the city. The 2008 on-time graduation rate of 65 percent represents a 10-percent increase from the 2003 to 2007 rate of 55 percent. Congratulations, Richmond Public Schools.

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