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Building a Grad Nation

Author: Helios Education Foundation

Recently, America’s Promise released their annual report, “Building a Grad Nation:  Progress and Challenge in Ending the High School Dropout Epidemic.”  According to the report, the national high school graduation rate hit a record high of 81.4 percent and for the third year in a row, the nation remained on pace to meet the goal of 90 percent on-time graduation by 2020. 

“This report is very encouraging,”  said Paul J. Luna, President and CEO of Helios Education Foundation and Board Member of America’s Promise Alliance.  “The fact is that these gains have been made possible by raising graduation rates for groups of students who have traditionally struggled to graduate and were most likely to drop out.”

The report indicates that strong leadership, education reforms and multi-sector efforts at state, district and school  levels drove this progress.  It’s also an indication that implementing a focused and concentrated effort can, in fact, increase graduation rates in every part of the country.

Nationally, Hispanic/Latino students, which is the fastest growing population of students, have made the greatest gains improving 4.2 percentage points from 2011-2013.  One reason for this level of improvement is the decline in the number of high schools with low graduation rates, often referred to as “dropout factories.”  There are now fewer than 1,200 of these schools nationwide and 1.5 million fewer students attending them. 

However, there is still work to do.  According to the report, the graduation rate in Arizona and Florida is 75.1 percent and 75.6 percent respectively which is lower than the national rate of 81.4 percent.   In addition, low-income students are graduating at a rate 15 percentage points behind their more affluent peers and while the graduation rates for students of color have significantly improved, they are still lower than the rates for White and Asian students. 

“As a Foundation focused on creating opportunities for individuals to achieve postsecondary education success, we recognize the importance of ensuring that all students graduate from high school and are ready for college and career,”  said Paul Luna.  “We applaud the efforts of America’s Promise in leading this national conversation and will use this valuable data to inform our education reform work in both Arizona and Florida.” 

Click here to read more about the Grad Nation report.

Category: Postsecondary Success

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