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United States Graduation Rate Increases Slightly

Progress made, but dropouts continue to be a significant national problem, “Building a Grad Nation” report says.


More US high school students are graduating on time, but dropouts continue to be a significant national problem, according to a report issued Monday by a nonprofit group headed by former secretary of state Colin L. Powell.

The national graduation rate increased to 75.5 percent in 2009, up from 72 percent in 2001. And the number of “dropout factories” — high schools where at least 60 percent of students do not graduate on time — fell from 2,007 in 2002 to 1,550 in 2010, the Washington Post reported.

The new research was presented Monday at the Grad Nation summit in Washington. It was produced by the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University, America’s Promise Alliance and Civic Enterprises.

The increase was primarily because of growth in 12 states, with New York and Tennessee showing double digit gains in graduation rates since 2002, according to the research.

At the other end, 10 states had declines: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, New Jersey, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, Rhode Island and Utah, The Associated Press reported.

So far, only Wisconsin has met the 90 percent benchmark, although Vermont is close, according to the AP.

Researchers found that graduation rates vary by race, with 91.8 percent of Asian students, 82 percent of whites, 65.9 percent of Hispanics and 63.5 percent of blacks graduating on time, according to the Washington Post.