Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Report Points To Modest Rise In US High School Graduation Rate

A number of media outlets cover the release today of the America's Promise Alliance report showing rising high school graduation rates, mainly presenting the news as positive. The CBS Evening News (3/19, story 7, 0:30, Pelley, 6.1M) reported, "A national effort to get kids to stay in school is beginning to pay off. A report today by the America's Promise Alliance says that over a decade the high school graduation rate in the United States has increased 3.5%." Nevertheless, CBS added, roughly a quarter of US students fail to graduate on time.


The Christian Science Monitor (3/20, Paulson, 48K) reports that the group's annual Building a Grad Nation report shows that "the graduation rate rose by 3.5 percent between 2002 and 2009," though "10 states had lower graduation rates in 2009 than in 2002." The Monitor reports that the report shows that schools are "slowly making progress," but "shows that progress varies significantly by state: Twelve states accounted for the majority of gains between 2002 and 2009, while 10 states had lower graduation rates in 2009 than in 2002." Tennessee and New York made the highest gains, the Monitor reports, but Nevada stands out for its graduation rate having fallen by 15.6%. The Monitor concludes by quoting Education Secretary Arne Duncan saying, "This year's report proves struggling schools are not destined to fail. The reality is that even one dropout factory is too many."


CNN (3/20, Holland) reports that the report points to a decrease in the "number of 'dropout factory' high schools in the United States," suggesting that the number of "high schools that graduate 60% or less of the number of freshmen" in four years "dropped from 1,634 to 1,550, continuing a trend that has accelerated in recent years, the report says." CNN notes that the Grad Nation initiative has the stated goal of increasing the nation's high school graduation rate from 75% to 90% by 2020. "Only the state of Wisconsin currently reaches that benchmark, although Vermont is less than half a percentage point away, the report says."

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