By Dr. Marciene Mattleman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – In the US, one in four students in public schools drops out before high school graduation, making it harder for them to succeed and causing the economy to lose hundreds of billions of dollars in productivity.

However, there is some good news. Graduation rates have continued to improve nationally with 12 states accounting for the majority of new graduates and two states showing double digit gains – Tennessee and New York.

The number of “dropout factory” high schools, referring to those schools graduating 60 percent or fewer students on time, decreased between 2002 and 2010 with Texas, Florida and Georgia each decreasing “dropout factories” by more than 50 schools.

The 2012 edition of “Building a Grad Nation” by the America’s Promise Alliance calculates that if each state had a graduation rate of 90%, 580,000 additional students would have graduated in 2011, increasing the GDP, gross domestic product, by $6.6 million and generating $1.8 billion in additional revenue through increased economic activity.