Uncategorized

Encouraging signs on high school graduation

It’s only incremental progress, but it is worth noting the quite measurable bump (almost 3%) that has taken place in the most recent data on American high school graduation rates. The data are from 2009-10 so there may even be grounds for hoping that the actual rate is now even higher. This is from the story in Education Week:

“The new NCES report reflects the best performance in decades by high school students. It is the highest graduation rate since 1969-70, when the figure was 78.7 percent. Since 1972, when the dropout rate was 14.6 percent, it has steadily improved, falling to 11 percent in 1992 and 3.4 percent for the class of 2010.

There were 38 states with an increase of one percentage point or more, in the most recent analysis. Overall, 3.1 million students received a diploma in 2009-10, the report, ‘Public School Graduates and Dropouts from the Common Core of Data: School Year 2009-10′ finds.”

Does this mean that the problem has been addressed or that we now know the solution to all of our public education challenges? Of course not. We obviously have a long way to go and can readily surmise that the recent progress is the result of dozens of factors — some related to school policies and some not.

But it also seems safe to draw a couple of additional conclusions from the new data:

#1 – The public schools, for all of their imperfections, are not “broken” as so many on the right allege and, indeed, seem to wish to be true. A majority work pretty darn well — especially where they are adequately resourced and not populated exclusively with impoverished children lacking basic human supports (i.e. adequate food, sleep, safety and supervision). We do not need to tear our school systems down or sell them off to private interests.

#2 –  We can make a difference through intentional public action. The nation is awash in plans and programs to improve school performance and there is no doubt that many work and many don’t. But it is also undeniable that the ongoing blitz of public attention on the issue — from parents, educators, politicians, researchers, journalists and others — has, over time, made a difference. Over the past decade or so, the impact of, for lack of a better phrase, “people raising hell about the issue,” has had a positive impact.

Now, if we can just keep up the good work without trashing the whole system, we might just get somewhere.  

 

 

 

Check Also

NC Policy Watch Policy Prescription #7: Boosting wages and improving leave policies for NC workers

As the 2018 legislative session gets underway in ...

Top Stories from NCPW

  • News
  • Commentary

Big corporations and wealthy executives have been on quite a run. Corporate profits are at historic [...]

When Andrea Hudson was pulled over for a routine traffic violation in 2013, the police officer found [...]

Right now in Shenzhen, which, with 12 million people is the fastest-growing city in China, a young c [...]

On Tuesday, Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger—one of the state’s most powerful Republican politic [...]

There are a lot of important statistics that confirm just how out of whack the U.S. economy has grow [...]

The post Bite the Apple & NC’s HB2 Legacy appeared first on NC Policy Watch. [...]

When I headed off to college, I could not have predicted that many of the funding streams, positions [...]

For those who pay only periodic attention to the ins and outs of lawmaking in the North Carolina Gen [...]

Now hiring

NC Policy Watch is now hiring a Managing Editor – click here for more info.