- On Monday, current Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and his successor, John King Jr., spoke at a roundtable to discuss the recent release of preliminary graduation rates for 2013-14.
- The rates indicate a continued upward trend in graduation rates, with 36 states seeing increases and six seeing dips.
- The preliminary data also indicates that achievement gaps in some states are closing — a key objective of both Duncan and King for the final months of the Obama administration.
Gaps between black and white students are closing in 28 states, and gaps between Hispanic and white students are closing in 32. "It looks like the nation will take another step in the right direction," Duncan said at Monday’s event.
He said the rates indicated that Congress should stick to federal accountability measures in the pending rewrite of No Child Left Behind, a step many in both parties have been unwilling to take. King has echoed Duncan’s concerns, saying he’s committed to work focused on closing the achievement gap and expanding preschool access. "It's not about different," King said. "It's about building on the work. We've made a lot of progress. We still have too large an achievement gap for students of color and low-income students."