Graduation rates are down in at least 31 states, reports Sarah D. Sparks in Education Week. Low-income and special-needs students have been "hardest hit."
States had been making "progress in boosting graduation rates for students of color," she writes, but pandemic-inspired disruptions reversed that trend in many states.
Graduation rates held steady for the class of 2020 thanks to flexibility in meeting course requirements, Sparks writes.
The graduation flexibility states provided in 2020 “held students harmless” for academic disruptions, but they also may have given educators a false sense of security with regard to high school students’ progress, (Johns Hopkins Professor Robert) Balfanz said. State flexibility was intended to be temporary, but students in the subsequent high school classes became more disengaged, not less.
Arizona "lost 10 years of attainment," said Stephanie Parra, the executive director of ALL in Education. The graduation rate fell to 75.7 percent in 1920-21 with Native American, Hispanic and Black students seeing the greatest declines.