The total number of students who do not graduate from high school has declined, from 1 million high school dropouts in 2008 to approximately 750,000 dropouts in 2012. Meanwhile, the national high school graduation rate reached 83.2 percent for the Class of 2015, the highest rate to date. But significant high school graduation rate gaps remain between white students and their Latino, African American, and American Indian peers. Additionally, there are nearly 2,400 high schools nationwide that fail to graduate one-third or more of their students. The students attending these low-graduation-rate high schools are disproportionately students of color and students from low-income families.
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires states and districts to support and improve the quality of low-performing high schools. States must set long-term high school graduation rate goals for all student groups and identify and intervene in those schools that graduate fewer than two-thirds of their students.
The national high school graduation rate for the Class of 2013 was 81 percent—the highest ever recorded, according to new data released on February 12 from the U.S. Department of Education (ED). The rate is up from 80 percent for the Class of 2012 and 79 percent for the Class of 2011.