“The hard work of teachers, administrators, students and their families has made these gains possible and as a result many more students will have a better chance of going to college, getting a good job, owning their own home, and supporting a family. We can take pride as a nation in knowing that we’re seeing promising gains, including for students of color.”
– Secretary Arne Duncan
America’s students are graduating from high school at a higher rate than ever before, reaching 82 percent in 2013-14!
What’s more, the gap between white students and black and Hispanic students receiving high school diplomas continues to narrow, and traditionally underserved populations like English language learners and students with disabilities continue to make gains, the data show.
Secretary Duncan sat down for a conversation with America’s Promise Alliance’s president and CEO, John Gomperts, Tuesday to talk about the state of education in the country. The conversation came on the heels of the APA’s release of the Building on a Grad Nation report that both highlighted the record high school graduation rate at 81.4 percent and indicated the nation remained on pace to meet the organization’s goal of 90 percent on-time graduation by 2020.
While Duncan celebrated the promising gains in the graduation rate—particularly among students of color—he called for more action to not only improve graduation rates, but to ensure that those who graduate are truly ready for college and career. “This is not mission accomplished,” he said. “This is not the promised land.”
Making sure students today are college and career ready is the real measuring stick for success in today’s knowledge-based economy – not just getting a high school diploma. If a student shows up to college in need of remedial courses, then we as a nation still have much work to do.
“While we should be encouraged by projections like the one in this year’s Grad Nation report, we know that more hard work remains to truly prepare all—not just some—students for success in college, careers and life. Education must be the equalizer that can help overcome the odds stacked against too many of our students,” Duncan said during the event.
We must “work with huge urgency, honesty, and humility,” Duncan said, if we are going to ensure that our nation, that is for the first time majority minority, continues to show progress that ensures all kids get the opportunity to succeed.
Patrick Kerr is a member of the Communications Development division in the Office of Communications and Outreach.
New data out today show some positive signs in ensuring every student has the opportunity to succeed, no matter their zip code.
Between 2010-11 and 2012-13, the graduation rates for American Indian, black, and Hispanic students increased by nearly four percentage points over two years, outpacing the growth for all students. This also shows that the gap between minority and white students is closing.
This exciting news is one more piece of evidence that America’s public schools are making important progress. America’s high school graduation rate is at a record high, dropout rates are down, and 1.1 million additional black and Hispanic students are attending college since 2008.
We still have work to do in improving educational opportunities for every student, but we are seeing incredible progress, and the credit for this progress goes to America’s educators, families, communities, and students. All of whom are working through major and sometimes challenging changes in our schools.
The nation’s high school graduation rate hit 81 percent in 2012-13, which is the highest rate since states adopted a new uniform way of calculating grad rates five years ago.
The new record high is a really big deal, and it’s all thanks to the hard work of our country’s teachers, principals, students and families.
In a statement, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said “We can take pride as a nation in knowing that we’re seeing promising gains, including for students of color.”
“This is a vital step toward readiness for success in college and careers for every student in this country.”
Starting in 2010, states, districts and schools starting using a new, common metric called the adjusted cohort graduation rate. Before this, comparing graduation rates between states was often unreliable because of the different methods used. The new method is more accurate and helps states target support to ensure students are graduating on time and are college and career ready.
See the data here, including what the graduation rate is in your state. Check back in the coming weeks when we hope to release grad rates for minority students, students with disabilities, and English language learners.
When I take the court tonight for the NBA Celebrity All-Star Game, I’ll be wearing a number that signifies some great news – thanks to the hard work of our nation’s students, parents, and educators.
The number I’ll wear – 80 – is rarely seen on a basketball jersey – but represents a record in education.
That number – 80 percent — is the newly announced high school graduation rate, the highest in American history. Never before have 4 out of 5 American students completed high school. We have further to go, but this is a moment to celebrate the hard work of our educators.
Often in sports, but rarely in education, do you hear about the heroes whose skill, hard work, creativity and tenacity resulted in an achievement the whole country should know about. We should all take heart from the passionate, caring work being done in classrooms, schools, and communities across the country.
Who’s to credit for this progress? Here, as elsewhere, you can be sure that the best ideas come from outside Washington, D.C. The best ideas come from teachers, principals, superintendents, and other educators who are determined to see their students succeed.
These ideas come from communities like Seattle, Wash., where Grover Cleveland High School was struggling just a few years ago. But Cleveland’s educators and students wouldn’t let the school fail.
With federal grant funds and other reform dollars, Cleveland transformed from a traditional neighborhood high school to one that emphasized project-based learning, connected students with mentors in the surrounding community, and offered internships in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields. School leaders and staff met every week and included parents, employers and other partners in designing a new approach to learning.
Cleveland seized the opportunity to innovate, and it worked. The school’s four-year-graduation rate rose from 60.5% in 2011 to 75% in 2013. And in 2013, Cleveland was named a Washington State School of Distinction.
Elsewhere, in Tennessee and the District of Columbia, state and local leaders looked honestly at student underperformance – and did something about it. They raised standards, strengthened classroom instruction, and revamped systems for teacher support and evaluation.
At Cleveland – and at schools in states from Ohio to Texas – change was, and is, hard. It takes tenacity, compassion, and courage from both students and educators.
The 80 percent number – the graduation rate for the class of 2011* — represents not only the collective progress we’ve made as a nation, but individually as communities, schools, students, and families.
But I see 80 percent as a starting point. We have so much further to go – for the one in five students who don’t graduate; for the many who graduate less than fully prepared for college; and for the groups of students that, despite recent progress, are achieving and graduating at lower rates. The potential of American students is limitless – it’s on our schools, families and communities to help them achieve at higher levels.
All students should have the opportunity to achieve in high school and thrive in whatever career or college they pursue. We owe 100 percent of our students that chance.
Today, I’ll celebrate where we are, and recognize where we need to go.
A new report from the Department of Education shows that high school graduation rates are at their highest level since 1974. According to the report, during the 2009-10 school year, 78.2 percent of high school students nationwide graduated on time, which is a substantial increase from the 73.4 percent recorded in 2005-6. The report shows that graduation rates were up for all ethnic groups in 2010, and that the rate for Hispanic students has jumped almost 10 points since 2006.
The report, from ED’s National Center for Education Statistics, also provides state-by-state data on high school dropouts. While the nation’s overall dropout rate is declining, Secretary Arne Duncan noted yesterday that the dropout rate is still “unsustainably high for a knowledge-based economy and still unacceptably high in our African-American, Latino, and Native-American communities.”
Click here to read the entire report, including data per state, race/ethnicity and gender.
Cameron Brenchley is director of digital strategy at the U.S. Department of Education