America’s Promise Alliance, Alliance for Excellent Education, Civic Enterprises and Everyone Graduates Center for John Hopkins University has released the 6th annual report update demonstrating progress towards a national quest to achieve a 90-percent high school graduation rate by 2020. The GradNation campaign, led by America’s Promise Alliance, not only hopes to increase the on-time graduation rate, but also increase postsecondary enrollment and completion rates for groups of students that have traditionally struggled to earn a high school diploma.
The Report reveals a continuing pattern that shows high school graduation rates are not increasing because of broad national economic, demographic, or social trends. Rather, the collection of leadership, reforms, and multi-sector efforts at state, district, and school levels are driving the progress. With focus and concerted effort, graduation rates can be increased in every part of the country.
In the sixth year of the Grad Nation report, highlights include:
- National High School Graduation rate has hit 81.4 percent, a record high.
- 29 of 50 states equaled or exceed the national average of 81.4 percent, with six states within two percentage points of reaching the 90 percent goal.
- Hispanic/Latino students have made the greatest gains by improving 4.2 graduation-rate percentage points from 2011 to 2013.
- Graduation rates in African American students have also risen by 3.7 percentage points within two years. In 2011, the graduation rate was 67 percent and in 2013 it was 70.7 percent.
- The number of schools labeled as “dropout factories,” has decreased to fewer than 1,200 nationwide with fewer than 1.5 million students attending them.
Improvements need to be made in the graduation rates of low-income, minority, special education, and English-language learning students as they are are still “unacceptably low.” Big states must also continue driving progress in large school districts where the majority of the country’s student population resides. The full report includes policy recommendations and resources for policy makers, teachers, and city officials.
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