- A new 2014 Building a GradNation report released Monday by Civic Enterprises, the Everyone Graduates Center, America's Promise Alliance, and the Alliance for Excellent Education highlights the U.S. high school graduation rate's rise above 80% — an all-time high.
- The 2012 Averaged Freshman Graduation Rates from the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics show an overall increase from 73% to 81% since 2006, and at current rates, the U.S. should meet its goal of hitting a 90% graduation rate by 2020.
- Key areas of focus in reaching the 90% goal include: the opportunity gap, since low-income students have below-average graduation rates; big cities, which contain a majority of "dropout factory" schools; special education, which has 13% of all students and a graduation rate 20% below average; California, which is both an education innovation factory and home to the nation's highest poverty rate; and the Midwest and South, where black males still have below-average graduation rates.
While the highest high school graduation rate in U.S. history is encouraging, the organizations involved make a point in their release of noting that there is still much to be done. Much of the improvement is from sharp improvement in Hispanic and black graduation rates. Between 2006 and 2012, the rate for Hispanic students rose from 61% to 76%, while the rate for black students saw an increase to 68% from 59%.
There's still plenty of work to be done in order to meet the 90% mark in the next six years, but in identifying the areas where the biggest impacts can be made, it doesn't seem far-fetched to think that number can be achieved.