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High school graduation rate increases, promising student success

MONDAY, APRIL 28, 2014 11:04 AM

A high school diploma is an essential tool for finding career success. Without it, students can't get prestigious jobs that pay well. However, not all students graduate high school on time, and some never earn their GED at all. Fortunately, that's starting to change. A report compiled by the U.S. Department of Education found that the average high school graduation rate across the country increased in the 2011-2012 school year to 80 percent. This is up from 79 percent the previous year and is a record high. 

The importance of a diploma
Earning a high school diploma can make or break career opportunities for students. Those who graduate will have a better chance to get a job and earn good money. Here is a closer look at why students should earn a degree:

Job opportunity: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, education is critical for job success. In fact, 40 percent of employers in the U.S. require their workers to have at least a high school diploma. Only 26 percent of employers will accept applicants who don't have a degree. People who do not complete their high school education are at a disadvantage compared to those who did earn a degree. Because employers want the best person for the position, they will choose a candidate who has an impressive list of credentials, one of which is a good education. 

Greater pay: Students who earn their high school diploma also earn more money than those who did not. According to the College Board, the average U.S. citizen who does not earn a high school diploma makes about $21,000 a year. The average salaries of those who do get their GED jump to $29,000 a year, and people with a bachelor's degree make an average of about $45,000 annually. 

Character perception: Employers may hire and pay educated students in part because completing school shows dedication, hard work and commitment. Companies might look for people who earn even a high school diploma because doing so says volumes about their ability to focus on work.

How schools are helping
Because education is important for career success, teachers, administrators, parents and legislators alike want students to succeed in high school and college. However, even students who graduate high school aren't always prepared for the rigors of a post-secondary education. The Common Core State Standards (CCSS), which have been adopted by most states, focus on preparing students for the future by teaching valuable skills. The CCSS uses a set of goals for each grade level to help students learn their subjects in depth. Teachers craft lessons that focus on the development of critical thinking rather than on memorization.