Building A Grad Nation

A new report issued by the America’s Promise founded by Colin Powell, former Secretary of State and his wife, Alma says that the United States graduation rate is rising.  But the report doesn’t satisfy the critics of public education. Schools have a long distance to go, but the report sees where the schools are compared to where they were.  I would like to quote from the report:

The number of dropout factory high schools fell by 261, from a high of 2,007 such schools in 2002 to 1,746 schools in 2008. This 13 percent decline is important, given that these schools produce half of the nation’s dropouts every year.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, the national graduation rate increased from 72 to 75 percent between 2001 and 2008. An additional 120,000 students earned a high school diploma in the Class of 2008 compared to the

Class of 2001.

Tennessee and New York led the nation in boosting high school graduation rates, with breakthrough gains of 15 and 10 percentage-points, respectively. Ten other states had gains ranging from about 4 to 7 percentage-points. These gains were in states that had graduation rates in 2002 that were above, near, and below the national graduation rate, indicating that improvement is possible regardless of starting point.

More than half of the nation’s states — 29 in total — increased high school graduation rates. Eighteen states had rates that remained essentially the same, and three states — Arizona, Nevada, and Utah — experienced noticeable declines in their graduation rates.

The rate of progress over the last decade — 3 percentage- points —  is too slow to reach the national goal of having 90 percent of students graduate from high school and obtain at least one year of postsecondary schooling or training by 2020. Over the next 10 years, the nation will need to accelerate its progress in boosting high school graduation rates fivefold from the rates achieved through 2008.”

The 88-page report, “Building a Grad Nation,” was published by America’s Promise Alliance, along with two other groups.”