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Never Too Late: Why ESEA Must Fill the Missing Middle


For an update on federal funding for high schools, check out our update, “Missing Middle—Federal Funding by Grade Span, Fiscal Year (FY) 2019.”

When President George W. Bush signed the No Child Left Behind Act into law in 2002, the U.S. national high school graduation rate was 72.6 percent. Today, the national high school graduation rate has reached an all-time high of 81 percent and the number of low-graduation-rate high schools has declined considerably. While this progress is notable, significant work remains to ensure all students graduate from high school prepared for college, a career, and civic life.

Evidence demonstrates that investments in high school turnaround efforts have succeeded. Moreover, research shows that the current federal strategy of investing in the early years and in postsecondary education, while largely skipping over middle and high schools, is unlikely to yield the greatest returns. An Elementary and Secondary Education Act reauthorization provides the opportunity to implement a more coherent, evidence-based policy of reform and investment that includes middle and high schools.

Learn More About the Missing Middle

February 8, 2019

Publication | Federal Education Budget, Funding Equity, High Schools

Missing Middle—Federal Funding by Grade Span, Fiscal Year (FY) 2019

All4Ed’s analysis of federal education funding across grade spans and disparities in funding for middle and high school students
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February 10, 2017

Publication | Every Student Succeeds Act, Funding Equity, High Schools

Every Student Succeeds Act Primer: Title I Funding for High Schools

How ESSA changes the requirements for school districts to allocate Title I funds in ways that support more high schools receiving funds.
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