School DazeNot sure whether we’re supposed to take this as good news or not but, according to a recently released report by America’s Promise Alliance, an advocacy group founded by Colin and Alma Powell, for the first time, the nation is making enough progress in graduating from high school to reach the goal of 90 percent graduation by 2020.

Graduation rate trends matter because dropouts without a high school or college diploma face an increasingly tough job market and while the progressing high school graduation rates show promise, they’re not enough to push students all the way through the finish line at the end of college. In fact, even though more students may be graduating high school, fewer than half of those in the class of 2012 were “college ready,” according to the College Board last fall. On the good side the gains in graduation rates have been driven largely by minority students in large, Southern states: Between 2006 and 2010, African-American students saw a 6.9 percent increase in graduation rates, and Hispanic students had a 10.4 percent increase. Which is in sharp contrast to 2002 findings where half of African-American high school students were attending schools “where graduation was not the norm,” now, that number is down to 25 percent.

According to John Bridgeland, an author on the report:

“Previously we’ve been able to focus on school districts making double-digit gains but we always have to pivot and say the pace of progress is too slow. Now, we have hopeful news. We’re cautiously optimistic. The pace of progress really rocketed forward right at a time when high school reform efforts were strongly under way.”

This report definitely shows promise, but with so many other factors in play when it comes to our children getting, or not getting, an education, 2020 seems like a long time to wait for us to get them on the right track.


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  • It sounds good on the surface but my friend taught at one of these high schools in the south and had to quit because the unspoken policy was to pass students who didn’t even meet the standard for elementary school grammar and math. When she tried to grade students based on their actual grade level parents would complain and one parent even had the audacity to say her child cheated because the teacher allowed he to sit too close to her classmate. I know too many ppl from college who didn’t know the very basic things you are supposed to learn in grade school. This is just more business for the college education industry. Just because you have a degree, doesn’t mean you’re educated.

    • London

      I couldn’t have said it better myself. I am a former NYC educator, who got fed up with the bullshit policy that is “No Child Left Behind,” and resigned. All this “projection” and ‘forsight” into graduation rates means that they are going to put even more pressure on teachers to pass students whether they meet the standards or not. When I was a middle school and high school teacher I was given back my students’ report card grades on the regular and told to “look back at all the students that I failed and see if I can’t edit their grades somehow to make them pass.” I know teachers who just give all their students 80s just to be on the good side of the school adminstration in order to keep their jobs.

      The children themselves aren’t challenged and are not taught any discipline or accountability. The lessons that educators are encouraged to make for high school students are on a middle school level. Middle school lessons are on an elementary school level. And I am convinced, after observing the elementary schools where I worked at, that grade school (at least in the inner cities) is just one big party. Those kids stay in the auditorium watching Disney cartoons. Therefore, IF these students make it to college, they drop out by the end of Freshman year or need MAJOR intervention services to help them keep up with the rest of the student body.

  • Not impressive when you see how these kids are being shuffled through. Speaking for kids in metro Atlanta, these kids, by and large aren’t very bright. The standards for graduation here barely meet the minimum entry requirements for out of state universities. My daughter had to take additional math classes ( luckily I saw this coming in her freshman year of high school) in order to gain admission to an out of state university, and her case is far from uncommon.