Diplomas Count 2008

Amy Ballard

Editorial Projects in Education Research Center
June 2008

This two-part report is the third in a series of graduation rate studies conducted by the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center. Using a standardized metric, the authors project that 1 in 3 (1.23 million) students who entered high school in the 2004-05 school year will not graduate in 2008. How to fix that? The report looks at P-16 councils--which are comprised of educators and sometimes policymakers, business leaders, and concerned parents who work to better coordinate what's taught in schools with what's expected in the work world, thereby making schools more practical and--it is to be hoped--keeping kids enrolled in them. Since 2005, such councils have become increasingly popular (40 councils now exist in 38 states), but their efficacy is tough to measure because so many are so new. (One wonders if their efficacy isn't also tough to measure because the councils' missions are often nebulous and their chief activity is often jawboning.) The report also finds that, while graduation rates overall remain appallingly low, a slow rise in each state's graduation rate is visible from 2001 to 2005. The 2005 national average graduation rate, 70.6 percent, is up 2.6 percent from 2001. See more here or check out this nifty interactive map that includes data from every school district in the nation.

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