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High school graduation rates on the rise

THURSDAY, JANUARY 24, 2013 10:41 AM

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) recently released a report on the high school graduation and dropout rates for the 2009-2010 academic year. Based on NCES data, the on-time graduation rate for students reached 78.2 percent - its highest rate since 1974. This is certainly good news for the American education system, and conditions could continue to improve as schools nationwide implement the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

During the 2009-2010 academic year, Vermont and Wisconsin were found to have the highest graduation rates, with roughly 91 percent of their high schoolers earning their diplomas. Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, New Jersey and North Dakota were among the states that also performed well.

As for the states with the worst graduation rates, Nevada came in last place with a graduation rate of 57.8 percent, followed closely by the District of Columbia, with a graduation rate of 59.9 percent. Still, Arne Duncan, the secretary of education, is pleased with the figures and the direction the country appears to be going in.

"After three decades of stagnation, the on-time graduation rate for high school students in the 2009-10 school year is the highest it's been since at least 1974," Duncan said in a statement. "It's encouraging that the on-time graduation rate is up substantially from four years earlier. And it's promising that high school graduation rates are up for all ethnic groups in 2010 - especially for Hispanics, whose graduation rate has jumped almost 10 points since 2006."

Once the CCSS are fully implemented in the 45 states that have adopted them, schools may be able to increase their graduation rates even further. After all, with students learning according to the Common Core, they will be acquiring knowledge and skills that will help them thrive, no matter what they choose to do after earning their diploma. This may provide enough incentive for students to complete their schooling.