Not 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.