High School Graduation Rates Up, Gaps Remain

Jan 22, 2013

According to the National Center on  Education Statistics, the percentage of students who graduate from public high school in four years is at its highest level in nearly 40 years—78%. Not since 1974 has the national average been so high. One of the takeaways from the report is that the number of Hispanic students who graduate on time has jumped 10 points in five years. This is good news, indeed. However, we still have a long way to go to ensure all students receive a high-quality education.

According to the Washington Post, 50 of the nation’s largest cities only have an average graduation rate of 53 percent. Much of the nation’s economically disadvantaged are still being left behind by our education system.

In addition, when compared to our international peers, the U.S. graduation rate now ranks 22nd out of 27 developed countries (we used to be first in the world). In an increasingly competitive world, the fate of the economy and quality of our education system are directly linked. This means that we must demand more of ourselves and of our schools if we are going to be the envy of the world once again. While today’s report is encouraging news, we should not spend too much time celebrating.  There are still far too many students dropping out at a personal cost to the individual and an economic cost to the country. Let’s not forget them.

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