Nation's High School Graduation Improves; Idaho Still Lags Behind 

click to enlarge FLICKR USER MARK RAMSAY, CC BY 2.0
The U.S. Department of Education announced Monday that the nation's high-school graduation rate had increased to an all-time high of 83.2 percent in the 2014-2015 school year, the fifth straight record-setting year. Idaho, however, still lags behind the national average.

"When I took office almost eight years ago, we knew that our education system was falling short," said President Barack Obama, announcing the news during an event at a Washington, D.C. high school. "I said, by 2020 I want us to be No. 1 across the board, so we got to work making real changes to improve the chances for all of our young people ... And the good news is that we've made real progress."

A report, "Building a Grad Nation," published this past spring, indicated the U.S. was still on pace to meet the goal of 90 percent on-time high school graduation by 2020. The report, released annually, is produced by the Alliance for Excellent Education, America's Promise Alliance, Civic Enterprises and the Everyone Gradates Center at Johns Hopkins University.

Monday's national statistics indicate that the graduation rate increased for all subgroups, with white students at 87.6 percent, black students at 74.6 percent and Hispanic students at 77.8 percent. Asian-American students continue to have the highest graduation rate at 90.2 percent, while Native Americans have the lowest at 71.6 percent. Students considered low-income improved to a graduation rate of 76.1 percent, with English learners increasing to 65.1 percent and students with disabilities to 64.6 percent. The graduation rate was determined by tracking students entering ninth grade who graduated on time by the 12th grade, according to the White House.

Meanwhile, Idaho's latest graduation rate of 78.9 percent, ranked No. 39 in the nation, was well below the national average. A year ago, Idaho ranked No. 41 in the nation. Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction said she sees progress.

"As I have said in the past, Idaho’s graduation rate is showing positive movement and this confirms that students are graduating at a higher rate nationally than ever before,” Ybarra said in a statement Monday.
click to enlarge KATIE PARK / NPR

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