Let’s start with the good news: high school graduation rates for U.S. students are at a 35-year high, with 78.2 percent of students receiving a four-year diploma in 2010. All ethnic groups saw an increase in rates, with Hispanic students showing the largest bump (65.9 to 71.4 percent). A total of 38 states saw their rates rise, while the other 12 stayed the same. Now, the bad news: these rates are still much too low.
African-American students still only graduate at a nationwide average of 66.1 percent, an improvement from past years, but still far too low to be acceptable. Put another way, this means that 33.9 percent of African-American students don’t make it through high school. With any luck, these numbers will follow the current trend and only go up as more attention is paid to inner city schools and low-income neighborhoods.
The cause for the improving rates have been partly connected to the bad economy of the last few years, with fewer jobs available for high school dropouts to take advantage of. However, the largest cause for the advancing numbers starts at the elementary level, where test scores have been improving for the last decade, even amongst the lowest-performing demographics.
What are your thoughts on high school graduation rates? Do you see these numbers reflected in your school?