U.S. high school graduation rate reaches record 80 percent

WASHINGTON Mon Apr 28, 2014 4:37pm EDT

U.S. President Barack Obama comforts a student overcome with emotion after speaking with the graduating class from Booker T. Washington High School in Memphis, Tennessee on their commencement day May 16, 2011. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

U.S. President Barack Obama comforts a student overcome with emotion after speaking with the graduating class from Booker T. Washington High School in Memphis, Tennessee on their commencement day May 16, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. high school graduation rate reached a record 80 percent in the 2011-2012 academic year, the Obama administration said on Monday in a report that tallied the number of students graduating within four years of starting high school.

The 80 percent rate for the 2011-2012 school year compares with a graduation rate of 79 percent in 2010-2011, according to National Center for Education Statistics, an agency within the U.S. Department of Education that collects and analyzes education data.

The Obama administration has credited its Race to the Top competitive grant program with raising the graduation rates.

The Race to the Top grant program was part of the president's 2009 economic stimulus package and was designed to encourage reforms in K-12 education. Under the program, states and schools compete for federal grants. Those that win are expected to come up with innovative ways to boost performance and with ways to measure the improvement.

Critics of Race to the Top have said that program widens the gap between higher-performing schools and lower-performing ones because schools that are already successful to begin with may have an edge over struggling schools in putting together winning bids.

Elaine Weiss, an education specialist at the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, said she thought that increased focus on teacher quality and other factors led to the higher graduation rates, rather than Race to the Top.

"They (graduation rates) go up every year. I don't think this is different," Weiss said.

(Reporting by Elvina Nawaguna; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

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Comments (3)
Trichiurus wrote:
The public school system is so dumbed down, I’m surprised the percentages isn’t higher.
Too many of these graduates have lousy comprehension and reading skills, poor math skills, little science understanding, ignorant of world and national history, and grammar skills that are getting so bad that bad grammar is now virtually accepted by society. But they have a piece of paper that says they are educated and ready to meet the world.

Apr 28, 2014 5:25pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
lextender wrote:
Amazing what happens when the standards are reduced.

Apr 28, 2014 5:55pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
111Dave111 wrote:
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Apr 28, 2014 8:41pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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