High School Graduation Rates Continue to Rise

For far too long, we have been hearing about “dropout factories” and the reality their far too many kids fail to graduate from high school. Those without a high school diploma are then never given postsecondary education opportunities, and too often are prevented from securing dependable, good-paying jobs.

Groups like ERCA’s partner, America’s Promise Alliance, have committed themselves to improving the high school experience and boosting grad rates. And it seems that good work is having its desired impact.

This week, the Alliance for Excellent Education released a new study showing that the national dropout rate is on the decline. In 2008, 1 million kids dropped out of high school. By 2012, that number had declined to 750,000.  That’s a 25-percent cut in the dropout rate.

Of course, our goal should be to reduce that to zero. But such a decline in such a short period of time is a tremendous step forward. That means hundreds of thousands of additional kids each year thinking about postsecondary education. More kids who are exploring meaningful career paths in areas like STEM or CTE. Students who are seeing they have a real future after their 18th birthday.

We need to do more to help all students, particularly those attending those so-called dropout factories to see what futures may be available to them.  Teachers are at the heart of any such effort, showing those available paths. Teachers inspire. And this recent data illustrates that they inspiration is having real impact on our kids.

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