Public high schools throughout the U.S. have achieved a landmark breakthrough, as the graduation rate has soared to a record-high 80 percent. Still, the reality is that 1 in every 5 students will walk away without a diploma.
Due to the momentum in progress, researchers are estimating that by 2020, the graduation rate will escalate to 90 percent.
Equipped with the Education Department’s statistics gathered from 2012, researchers were able to base their report off of these findings and will present them on Monday at the Building a GradNation Summit.
The increase has been attributed to such factors as greater awareness of the dropout situation, as well as attempts by districts, states and the federal government to include graduation rates in accountability measures. Among the initiatives are closing “dropout factory” schools, which are high schools where no more than 60 percent of the students who start as freshmen, make it to their senior year.
Additionally, many schools have taken forceful action, including employing intervention specialists to work with students per a one-on-one basis, which has greatly aided in keeping teenagers in classrooms, researchers concluded.
The surge in rates amid the African-American and Hispanic students helped propel the growth, which began to increase starting in 2006 after years of stagnation.
“At a moment when everything seems so broken and seems so unfixable … this story tells you something completely different,” said John Gomperts, president of America’s Promise Alliance, which was founded by former Secretary of State Colin Powell and helped produce the report.
The graduation rate of 80 percent is based on federal statistics mainly using a computation by which the number of graduates in a given year is divided by the number of students who enrolled four years earlier. Modifications are made concerning the transfer students.
Some of the top ranking states included Iowa, Vermont, Wisconsin, Nebraska and Texas with rates measured at 88 or 89 percent. The lower performing states comprised of Alaska, Georgia, New Mexico, Oregon and Nevada, which achieved rates of 70 percent or below.
The states of Idaho, Kentucky and Oklahoma were omitted, as they have been granted federal permission to take longer to roll out their system.
The new calculation program has proven invaluable as researchers are now equipped to individually follow students and chart progress established on their income level. Through incorporating this strategy, researchers discovered that various states are performing much better than others as far as getting low-income students to graduation day.
Milestone U.S. High School Graduation Rate Rises to 80 Percent