Graduating From High School

by KYW’s Dr. Marciene Mattleman

As more skills are needed to be successful in the workforce, the sad news is that the national high school graduation rate has slipped.

In 2006, 69% of our youth earned a high school diploma; in 2007, only 68.8% graduated in four years translating to 11,000 fewer graduates than the year before. Compare this with 1969 when the national graduation rate was 77%.

Findings, posted in Education Week’s “Diplomas Count” study, identify 21 big city “overachievers” with higher graduation rates than might be expected. Five districts outpaced expectations by 18 percentage points or more: Newport-Mesa Unified in California, David Douglas in Portland, Oregon; Texarkana Independent, Memphis City in Tennessee and Visalia Unified in California.

Newport-Mesa, with a very diverse population including 40% Latino graduated 86%, passing a prediction of 40%.

If one half of the dropouts in the 50 largest cities were reduced, the graduates’ earnings would be $4.1 billion a year and would increase state and local tax revenues by as much as $536 million.

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