The nation’s students are graduating from high school at record rates and the reasons can be attributed to school-reform efforts, not improving economic trends, argues a new report released by several organizations, including an advocacy group backed by the former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell.
The writers of the analysis, “Building a Grad Nation,” include major education researchers who say that, based on 2013 high-school graduation rates, the U.S. is on pace to see 90 percent of its high-school students earn a diploma by 2020. To get there, an additional 330,000 students would need to graduate from high school. Those gains would be consistent with progress the nation has made since the early 2000s: The number of students who earned their diplomas grew by 1.8 million over the past decade, according to the report.
“We are making progress … because the leaders of schools, districts, communities, and states are working hard to drive change,” said Robert Balfanz, a researcher and co-director of the Everyone Graduates Center at the John Hopkins School of Education, in a prepared statement. “Now in the third quarter of our 20-year campaign, we are seeing that big progress is possible, even in challenged districts and states.”