According to a new report from the White House, high school graduation rates are at an all-time high in America, with college enrollment increasing as well.
Using data gathered by the U.S. Department of Education National Center for Education Statistics, the Barack Obama administration is proudly presenting the 2012-13 high school graduation rate at 81 percent, the highest level since states adopted a policy of uniform graduation rate calculation half a decade ago. When broken down by state, the data show that New York’s graduation rate went unchanged between 2010-11 and 2012-13, at 77 percent, while the graduation rate in New Jersey rose steadily from 83 percent in 2010-11 to 88 percent in 2012-13.
“America’s students have achieved another record-setting milestone,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in a statement. “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, and these improvements are thanks to the hard work of teachers, principals, students and families.”
Obama mentioned the progress during a recent Democratic fundraiser in San Francisco.
“High school graduation rates are at an all-time high,” he said. “For younger students, reading and math scores [show] appreciable gains …[and the] highest college enrollment that we had seen in a very long time.”
Starting in the year 2010, states, districts and schools used a new metric known as the “adjusted cohort graduation rate” to promote what the Department of Education called greater accountability and “develop strategies that will help reduce dropout rates and increase graduation rates in schools nationwide.”
Under these new metrics, the graduation rates climbed steadily for three consecutive years. But folks at the White House aren’t done. They want those high school graduates to attend college as well.
“When schools are held accountable, and students are given support to help them stay in school and on track, real progress is possible,” said John Gomperts, president and CEO of America’s Promise Alliance and leader of the GradNation campaign. “Because of increases over the past decade or so, nearly 2 million additional young people have high school diplomas, giving them a chance at a more promising future. However, much work remains. Looking forward, we will focus on what more can be done so that all young people have the foundation they need to succeed in school and life.”
GradNation aims to pull the high school graduation rate up to 90 percent by the year 2020. A “Building a GradNation” report is slated for an early May release.
But while the wait for the overall numbers is over, the wait for racial breakdowns of the graduation rates continues. The White House said that the graduation rates for minorities, disabled students and those whose first language isn’t English will be released over the next several weeks.