Tuesday, January 22, 2013

National Graduation Rate Rises

From the Washington Post:

The percentage of students at public high schools who graduate on time has reached its highest level in nearly 40 years, according to the most recent federal government estimates released Tuesday.
Based on data collected from the states for the Class of 2010, the National Center for Education Statistics estimated that 78 percent of students across the country earned a diploma within four years of starting high school. The graduation rate was last at that level in 1974, officials said.

Asian students had the highest graduation rate, with 93 percent of students finishing high school on time. White students followed with an 83 percent graduation rate, American Indians and Alaska Natives with 69.1 percent and African Americans with 66.1 percent.

Notable in 2010 was the rise in the percentage of Hispanic students who graduate on time, with a 10-point jump over the past five years, to 71.4 percent. 

Boys dropped out of school in higher numbers than girls in every state. The national dropout rate was 3.8 percent for boys and 2.9 percent for girls.

Now, I'm sure all our ed reformers will credit charter schools for this but no, I don't think so.   The national graduation rate has not changed much since the '60s.  Is it good that a fourth of kids don't graduate?  No.  But it may take more than smoke and mirrors to change that.

“When the economy turns down or there are poor economic conditions, there’s a lack of available jobs for high school dropouts, fewer jobs that they can actually be qualified for,” Buckley told reporters last week. “Historically, there has been a correlation between the dropout rate going down when the economy is weaker.”

Cities do worse than states overall.

One study found the graduation rate for the Class of 2005 in the nation’s 50 largest cities was 53 percent, compared with 71 percent in the suburbs.

Dropout rates do not combine with graduation rates to total 100 percent because they do not include students who take longer than four years to graduate or those who earn GED certificates.

In 2005, the Education Department began publishing an official estimate of graduation rates, and all 50 states agreed to adopt a standard method of calculating those rates by 2013.

Iowa and Vermont have the highest rates (about 87%) with Nevada the worst and, oddly, Oregon was fourth from the bottom (across all races).

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