High school grad rate tops 78%

The on-time high school graduation rate hit 78.2 percent in 2010, the highest in a generation and up 2.7 points in a year.

“If you drop out of high school, how many good jobs are there out there for you? None,” Education Secretary Arne Duncan told AP.

While 93.5 percent of Asian-American students and 83 percent of whites complete high school in four years, that drops to 71.4 percent for Hispanics and 66.1 percent for blacks.

State graduation rates ranged from 57.8 percent in Nevada to 91.4 percent in Vermont.

Comparing graduation rates to any year before 1992 is impossible, writes RiShawn Biddle. The data collection method changed significantly. Some states and districts are reporting very dodgy data. Connecticut reported a 98 percent graduation rate for the class of 2010, which NCES refused to accept. The District of Columbia claimed “only one percent of students officially drop out over a four-year period.”  The key word is “officially.”

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  1. Graduation rates are irrelevant unless they are accompanied by actual, HS-grad-level knowledge and skills. The latter isn’t happening in vastly too many cases. I’m betting that most of my small-town 8th-grade grads (very early 60s) had better literacy, numeracy and general knowledge than many (in some areas, most) HS grads. Forcibly shoving everyone through the pipeline, while they are still counting on their fingers and toes, to give them a diploma they can’t read is educational malpractice and fraud.

  2. Momof4,

    Having graduated in 1981, I’m in agreement with you 100%, back then, the graduation rate was approximately 75% (1 in 4 never graduated), but then again, a student who didn’t want to be in school wasn’t chased down by the district, but now since districts get $$$ for every kid warming a seat on “official count day”, they’ll drag in every kid they can find.

    I had an interesting experience at a dining establishment yesterday when I handed the cashier $6.01 for a $5.41 bill (she should have given me back 60 cents, as I didn’t want pennies). What did I get back, 49 cents. IMO, the worst things ever done to students were allowing them to use calculators prior to high school, and the 2nd worst thing was inventing a cash register which figured out the change for the person using it.

    The high school dropout rate will ALWAYS remain between 70 and 80%, and it’s been that way for almost half a century.

    • I think you meant the drop out rate will be between 20% and 30%, and I agree.

      I remember reading that less than half of World War II enlistees were high school graduates, and the numbers in WWI were much worse.

      We need to bring back vocational education, or better yet apprenticeships.

      • Mike in Texas says:

        It will never happen. Vocational ed and apprenticeships will never earn Pearson and McGraw-Hill et. al. enough money.

      • OOPS…well, the HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION RATE will always be between 70 and 80% (or the dropout rate will be between 20 and 30%) 🙂

  3. Gahrie,

    Many enlistees in WWII left high school to join the military and fight Japan and Germany (this was a choice they made when it appeared that the United States could be
    defeated by the Axis powers).

  4. Those “official” rates don’t include the pushouts that are recorded as “official” transfers to private schools. If the private schools are homeschools and it occurs in states such as Illinois, TX or Indiana, the problem lands on the homeschoolers in more ways than one. Little accountability by school officials spreads that newer invention.

    • Dropout rates are inaccurate for the reasons you mention. Often failing students try an alternative program and then drop out; they’re counted as transfers. But these are on-time graduation rates, which compare the graduates in one year with the size of the ninth-grade class four years earlier.