U.S. High School Graduation Rate Hits All Time High

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
April 28 2014 8:30 PM

U.S. High School Graduation Rate Hits All Time High

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High school students take final exams.

Photo by Micah Walter/Getty Images

Here’s some good news on the state of American education. On Monday, the Department of Education released data showing that the U.S. public high school graduation rate is the highest ever recorded with 80 percent of students receiving a diploma in 2012.

The 80 percent benchmark appears to be more of a symbolic achievement, as it represented only a slight improvement from the 79 percent graduation rate the previous year, and is consistent with an overall decade-long trend of improved high school graduation rates nationally. Nevertheless, the numbers heading in the right direction is undoubtedly a positive sign, as is the fact that the improvement is attributed to rising graduation numbers among African-American and Hispanic students, as well as the closing of failing “dropout factory” schools in urban areas, Politico reports.

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Here’s a preliminary breakdown of the numbers, via the Wall Street Journal: “About 86% of white students made it through high school in four years in 2012, compared with about 69% of black students, 73% of Hispanics and 88% of Asians. Girls also bested boys. Nationally, about 85% of girls picked up a diploma, compared with 78% of boys.” Despite the improvement, graduation rate disparities persist when broken down by race, income, and geography persist. For a full parsing of the numbers check out Vox’s breakdown.

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.

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