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National Graduation Rates Improving

Civic Enterprises
Civic Enterprises

A report was released this week by Civic Enterprises – a public policy group that finds graduation rates in the US have climbed over the last decade. The report is called Building a Grad Nation:Update to the Nation.

Civic Enterprises CEO, John Bridgeland, is a former domestic policy director for Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. He says his focus for the last 15 years has been high school graduation rates, and adds that research indicated that ten years ago,  half of the nation’s dropouts were from just 15 percent of US schools, which allowed for targeted policy efforts.

“For more than a decade now we have put in place an evidence-based plan of reforms, interventions that are needed and that work to help young people on track to graduate,” he said. “And so we set this goal of a 90% high school graduation rate by the class of 2020."

Bridgeland says 124 school districts around the US have had significant decreases in dropout rates. The national graduation rate now stands at about 81 percent.

Some local statistics cited by Bridgeland include Oakwood and Vandalia Butler schools in Montgomery County which had 2013 graduation rates in the mid-nineties.  Dayton and Trotwood Madison graduation rates for 2013 were in the low seventies. The latter schools have much higher rates of low-income students.

Bridgeland credits much of the success for improving schools to “early warning systems that identify attendance patterns, behavior, and performance in reading and math." He also credits programs like the Third Grade Reading Guarantee for improving overall school performance.

He'll share more findings of the report in Dayton on Saturday when he speaks at a Grad Nation Summit in conjunction with  Learn to Earn Dayton .