Statement by Bob Wise, President of the Alliance for Excellent education, on NGA’s Compact on State High School Graduation Data
“The Alliance has long been a supporter of a better, more accurate graduation rate measurement process; therefore we are pleased to support and sign on to the NGA Compact on State High School Graduation Data,” said former Governor Bob Wise, president and CEO of the Alliance for Excellent Education. “The action steps outlined in the compact are well in line with the recommendations made by the Alliance in its 2004 brief, Measuring Graduation to Measure Success. It is critical that we start recognizing how many of our students are dropping out of school before obtaining the meaningful diploma that will prepare them for success in postsecondary education and the modern workforce if we are to be able to effectively correct the problems in our schools that are blocking their success.”
High school graduation serves as one of the most important markers of student educational progress, and is a crucial indicator of future success in school and work as well as a harbinger of the individual’s likely quality of life. Individuals who drop out of high school earn almost 30 percent less than those students who graduate, are 3.5 times more likely to be incarcerated, and are significantly more likely to rely on public assistance.
Graduation rates also provide important information about how well schools are serving certain student populations. Research from the Urban Institute suggests that approximately 50 percent of students from historically disadvantaged racial and ethnic backgrounds do not finish high school. Males from these racial and ethnic groups are faring substantially worse than females, and the situation is especially dismal for students in our nation’s largest high-poverty urban districts, where as few as a third of all students graduate.
Accurate, reliable information about how many of the nation’s children are not completing high school-and who those children are-is critical. Without it, policymakers and school administrators will be unable to effectively assess school quality, determine school progress, and propose reforms to improve outcomes. The National Governors Association’s Compact on State High School Graduation Data and its related report, Graduation Counts, will help to focus attention on this problem and encourage states to take steps to correct it. The Alliance for Excellent Education congratulates NGA and the signatories for their commitment to this issue.
# # #
The Alliance for Excellent Education is a Washington-based policy, research, and advocacy organization that works to make every child a graduate, prepared for college or the modern workplace. It is funded by the Leeds Family, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, New York Community Trust, and the Daniels Fund as well as by concerned individuals.
For more information about the Alliance for Excellent Education, please visit https://all4ed.org/.