Grad Nation: Building a Grad Nation, Progress and Challenge in Ending the High School Dropout Epidemic, 2014-2015 Annual Update
This sixth annual report to the nation highlights the significant progress that has been made, but also the serious challenges that remain – closing gaping graduation gaps between various student populations; tackling the challenge in key states and school districts; and keeping the nation’s focus on ensuring that all students – whom Robert Putnam calls “our kids” – have an equal chance at the American Dream.
In 2013, the national high school graduation rate hit a record high of 81.4 percent, and for the third year in a row, the nation remained on pace to meet the 90 percent goal by the Class of 2020. This sixth annual update on America’s high school dropout challenge shows that these gains have been made possible by raising graduation rates for students who have traditionally struggled to earn a high school diploma, and focuses on the student subgroups and geographic areas that both contribute to this progress and are key to driving toward the 90 percent goal. Continuing a pattern seen in earlier years, rates of improvement among states and large districts varied considerably between 2011 and 2013. Some districts, including those with a majority of low-income and minority students, made big improvements, while others lost ground. This is significant because it indicates that high school graduation rates are not increasing because of broad national economic, demographic, and social trends. Rather, the constellation of leadership, reforms, and multi-sector efforts at state, district, and school levels drove this progress, and shows that with focus, graduation rates can be increased for all students in every part of the country.
Grad Nation, Dropout Crisis