|Report: High School Graduation Rates Rise to 75%|
|posted by: Alix | April 05, 2012, 09:30 PM|
According to a new report issued by America's Promise Alliance, the Everyone Graduates Center, the Alliance for Excellent Education, and Civic Enterprises, the United States is making gradual progress in improving high school graduation rates. While the nation's overall graduation rate rose by 3.5% to 75% from 2002 to 2009, about 1 out of 4 students still fails to graduate in four years. That number increases to 40% when analyzing minority graduation rates, signaling that more work needs to be done to prepare our students in a global economy.
The report indicated that progress varies significantly by state and region. Twelve states accounted for the majority of gains, while 10 states had lower graduation rates in 2009 than in 2002. Tennessee and New York saw the biggest gains. Each state posted double-digit increases; Tennessee's graduation rate by 18% and New York's 12% respectively. Other states with major gains are Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and Wisconsin.
The 10 states whose graduation rates have worsened in that period are Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Rhode Island, and Utah. Interestingly, Nevada stands as the nation's outlier. The state's graduation rate declined by 15.6% during the same period, more than triple the decline in any other state.
Researchers found that the number of "dropout factories," schools that fail to graduate more than 60 percent of students on time, had dropped by more than 450 between 2002 and 2010, but that 1,550 remain throughout the country. The largest declines in dropout factories were in the South and in suburban communities.
The high school graduation issue stands as a priority for the Obama administration. During the State of the Union address, the President called on Congress to pass a measure aimed at requiring students to finish high school. Reacting to the report, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan commented on the mixed results, "This year's report proves struggling schools are not destined to fail. The reality is that even one dropout factory is too many."
Still, survey organizers were cautiously optimistic when examining trends. While states like Tennessee and New York prove progress can be made, declines are inevitable if states don't set goals. "Big gains are possible if you work hard at it, and if you don't focus on it, you're going to go backward," said Robert Balfanz, a report author and director of the Everyone Graduates Center at the School of Education at Johns Hopkins University.
These statistics are considered critical indicators of prosperity for future generations. It's estimated that high school graduates will earn $130,000 more over their lifetimes than dropouts, and that high school graduates will generate more than $200,000 in higher tax revenues and savings in government expenditures over their lifetime, the report stated.
Click here to view the full report.
What do you think about the results?