Grad rates on track for 90 percent by 2020

A new report shows that for the second year in a row, American high schoolers are on track to reach a 90 percent graduation rate by the year 2020. Research for Building a Grad Nation:Progress and Challenge in Ending the High School Dropout Epidemic was conducted through a collaboration of researchers from Civic Enterprises, John Hopkins, Alliance for Excellent Education and American’s Promise Alliance. In order for graduation rates to reach the lofty 90 percent goal,  there needs to be an increase in graduation rate of 1.3 percent every year.

The report cites more streamlined paths to graduation as part of the reason the rates are rising. Issues outside of academics are also mentioned in the report.

“The barriers that block the path to graduation and preparedness go beyond the classroom. They often involve multiple, interconnected challenges — such as poor health, hunger, bullying, and housing insecurity,” the report reads.

These problems, though far from solved, are being addressed through better social programs in school districts and the report even hints at universal healthcare as a boost to the grad rate numbers. As more students get the help they need outside academic constraints, more will be able to take the next step and earn a high school diploma.

The report also breaks down some of the disparities between students. While minority groups still tend to have lower graduation rates (76 percent for Hispanic students, 68 percent for African American students, and 85 percent for White students), the grad rate gap is closing. Since 2006, graduation rates for Hispanic students have risen 15 percent and for African American students, the rates have risen 9 percent.

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