The high school graduation rate in the United States is on track to reach 90 percent by 2020, according to a new report released Monday. This is the first time the US has been on pace to to meet the national Grad Nation goal.
“This is our fourth annual update,” said John Bridgeland, a co-author of the report, titled “Building a Grad Nation.”
Bridgeland added, “Previously we’ve been able to focus on school districts making double-digit gains but we always have to pivot and say the pace of progress is too slow. Now, we have hopeful news.”
The US high school graduation rate has increased to 78.2, up 6.5 percentage points from 2001. There was an average growth of 1.25 percentage points for each year from 2006 to 2010. In 2010, over 200,000 more students received high school diplomas than in 2006.
However, students with learning disabilities and limited English fluency still have a long way to go when it comes to graduating high school. Students in those groups have graduation rates as low as 25 percent in some areas, according to Reuters. Minority students also lagged behind their white counterparts, with about one-third of black students and 29 percent of Hispanic students dropping out before graduation.
Wisconsin, Vermont, and Iowa led the country with graduation rates close to 90 percent. Nevada and New Mexico were at the bottom with barely six in 10 freshmen expected to earn a high school diploma within four years.
However, that rate is nothing compared to a high school in Utah that had a graduating class of only two students last year. Trevor Timm and best friend Austin Lewis were the only two seniors to receive their diplomas from West Desert High School in Partuon in May 2012.
The “Building a Grad Nation” report was released by America’s Promise Alliance, a youth advocacy group founded by Gen. Colin Powell and his wife, Anna.