National graduation rates reached a record high of 81.4 percent in 2013, in part due to the increase of graduation rates among minority and low-income students.
Over the last decade, 1.8 million additional students have graduated from high school, according to a report released by America’s Promise Alliance, Civic Enterprises, Everyone Graduates Center, and the Alliance for Excellent Education.
GradNation, a campaign by America’s Promise Alliance, was launched in 2010 to focus individuals, organizations and communities on decreasing dropout rates. They adopted a goal of raising the national average on-time high school graduation rate to 90 percent by 2020.
To reach that goal, the graduating class of 2020 will need to have 310,000 more graduated students than the Class of 2013. The report states the U.S. is on track to reach that goal.
The high school graduation rate of Latino students — the fastest growing population of students — has increased 4.2 percentage points from 2011 to 2013. The rate of graduation among African American students has risen 3.7 percentage points. Those improvements have allowed Latinos and black students to start closing the graduation rate gap with their white student peers.
A reason for this improvement is the decline in the number of high schools with low graduation rates that are often referred to as “dropout factories.” There are fewer than 1,200 schools nationwide considered dropout factories, and 1.5 million fewer students are attending them. The share of Latino and African-American students attending schools that were once labeled dropout factories has dropped below 15 percent and 20 percent respectively.
New data and analysis in the report shows that the graduation rate for low-income students over the past three years has increased. However, there still is a 15 percent gap between them and middle- and high- income students nationally.
Nevada, Alabama, New Mexico, Utah, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, North Carolina, New Jersey and California increased their graduation rates by 4 percentage points or more from 2011 to 2013. California, Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina are among those with the largest enrollments in the country.
Declining or stagnating graduation rates were found in New York, Illinois, Washington, and Arizona, which together educate 15 percent of the nation’s high school students.