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More students are graduating but that’s not the whole story

Publication date: Oct 31, 2016

By Emily Richmond, October 17, 2016

As federal education officials tout a fourth consecutive year of improvement in the nation’s high school graduation rate, the reactions that follow are likely to fall into one of three categories: policymakers claiming credit for the gains; critics arguing that achievement gaps are still far too wide to merit celebrating; and policy wonks warning against misuses of the data.

Understandably at the front of the first group is U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King, Jr., who used a press call with reporters to showcase some of the Obama administration’s flagship efforts, such as investing in high-quality early childhood programs, offering competitive grants for school improvement, and boosting classroom technology capabilities, particularly in high-need urban and rural communities.

According to the most recent numbers from the U.S. Department of Education, released today, 83.2 percent of students in the class of 2015 graduated, compared with 82.3 percent in the prior academic year. That’s a gain of 4.2 percentage points since 2011. Improvements in graduation rates were seen for each of the reported student subgroups — broken down by ethnicity, socioeconomics, limited English proficiency, and special education status.

Read the full article at The Hechinger Report.

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