U.S. Graduation Rate Highest in 40 Years
By Helen Yoshida
The nation’s graduation rate rose to almost 75 percent in 2010, the highest point since 1973, according to Education Week’s new Diplomas Count report.
“A decade ago, as concerns about the nation’s graduation rate were just starting to gain public attention, only two-thirds of U.S. students were finishing up high school with a diploma,” said Christopher B. Swanson, Vice President of Editorial Projects in Education, who analyzed the data. “Now, the graduation rate from America’s public schools stands just shy of 75 percent. At the current pace of improvement the graduation rate could reach an all-time high within the next few years.”
The report, Second Chances: Turning Dropouts into Graduates, also contained sobering news about dropouts. Approximately 1 million students will leave school and not cross the commencement stage with the class of 2013.The report takes a look at the current 1.8 million so-called “recoverable youths” - young adults who are not enrolled in school and have not completed high school, and investigates strategies for helping them. In addition, the report tracks graduation policies for the states as well as the District of Columbia and features an analysis of the 2010 graduation patterns for the nation, states, and the country’s 50 largest school systems. Below are a few of the highlights:
- The nation’s graduation rate has reached 74.7 percent, its highest point since 1973.
- Latino and African-American students have driven this national improvement. Graduation rates for Latino students have increased by 5.4 percent while rates for African-American students have increased by 3.3 percent from 2009 to 2010.
- The nation’s graduation rate has increased by 7.9 percent from 2000 to 2010.
- In Connecticut, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Vermont and Wisconsin, 80 percent of their high school students graduate. In Georgia, the District of Columbia, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, and South Carolina less than two-thirds of students graduate from high school.
- The graduation gaps between Latinos and Whites and African-Americans and whites have narrowed within a decade while the gap between Native Americans and Whites have widened.
- New York City and Los Angeles produce the most high school dropouts. New York City has 36,000 dropouts while Los Angeles ranks second, churning out 32,000 graduates per year.
Source: Diplomas Count 2013