- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 28, 2017

MALDEN, Mass. (AP) - Massachusetts education officials say high school graduation rates are continuing to improve and that the gap between white and minority students is narrowing.

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education said Tuesday that 87.5 percent of the more than 74,000 students who entered as ninth-graders in 2012 graduated high school within four years. It was the 10th consecutive annual increase in the four-year graduation rate and the percentage of students dropping out each year has been cut in half since 2006.

Graduation rates among black students rose nearly 3 percentage points to 75.7 percent, while the rate for Latino students rose half a point to 72.7 percent.

Several urban school districts including Springfield, Holyoke, Lawrence and Brockton have seen significant reductions in high school dropouts over the last five years.

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