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Graduation Rates on the Rise
posted by: Ruthie | June 09, 2011, 02:08 PM   

Teachers and students have a reason to celebrate: recent analysis reveals strong signs of improvement in graduation rates. The Editorial Projects in Education Research Center revealed that the national graduation rate for public school stands at 71.7%, the highest since the 1980's.

Several patterns emerge from the 1998 to 2008 data. The overall graduation rate rose by 6.1 percent, with each major ethnic group posting gains of at least 2 percent. Asian American, at 83 percent, and whites, at 78 percent, remain the highest-performing groups. African-American students improved the most, closing the black-white graduation gap by 2 points. However, because improvements for whites outpaced the other groups, the gaps between Native Americans and whites and between Latinos and whites widened.

While these improvements are encouraging, the gaps demand both closer analysis and concern. Among minorities, just 58 percent of Latinos received a diploma. Similarly, 57 percent of African Americans and 54 percent of Native Americans graduated with a diploma. In addition to minority gaps, gender gaps also raise concern – 68 percent of male students graduate, compared to 75 percent of female students, with rates for minority males falling below 50 percent. Sadly, this disparity demonstrates little change in the past decade.

Another disparity worth examining is the 74 percent to 64 percent comparison between suburban and urban schools, respectively. Urban schools often graduate less than half their students, whereas suburban counties boast rates of 85 percent. In Washington, D.C. for example, the rate has hovered around 50 percent for the last few years.

Despite these changes, there is much more room for improvement, as nearly 1.2 million students from class of 2012 will not receive a high school diploma, equating to 6,400 students lost each day of the year, or one student every 27 seconds.

AAE Executive Director Gary Beckner commented that while a blanket increase is encouraging, there is more work to be done. "The rise in graduation rates is definitely a step in the right direction; however, we need to take this opportunity to learn and improve. Sustained growth in graduation rates begins with support for America's teachers."

What do you think of the rise in graduation rates?
Comment below.

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