GradNation Opinion: We Can’t Let Progress on High School Graduation Rates Mask a Deeper Problem
By Bob Wise, Robert Balfanz, John Bridgeland, and John Gomperts.
As thousands of high school students walk across the graduation stage this month, deep concerns exist for the many students who are not walking with them. While the nation has seen graduation rates rise from 71 percent in 2001 to 84 percent in 2016, with 3 million more students graduating over that period rather than dropping out, too many students still fail to reach this milestone of success by 18.
As states have new flexibility under the Every Student Succeeds Act to set graduation rate targets and be accountable for progress, the country must move beyond the national numbers of progress to see what is going on in states and communities to ensure more equitable outcomes for all students. Based on the findings contained in our latest Building a Grad Nation report, we recommend that states focus their efforts in these critical ways.