High School Graduation Rates on the Rise in U.S.

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High school graduation rates in the U.S. are again expected to rise.

Preliminary graduation rate data from the National Center for Education Statistics show that the vast majority of states, 36 total, saw increases in overall graduation rates during the 2013-2014 school year.

“The fact that graduation rates are up – something is different out there,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said Monday. “There is something in the water. These preliminary numbers give me hope that it will continue to get better.”

States making the biggest gains include Alabama, Delaware, Illinois, Oregon and West Virginia. Only six states experienced decreases in graduation rates while eight states saw no change.

The majority of states also shrank the achievement gap for black and Hispanic students, as well as for low-income students, students with disabilities, and those learning English.

The U.S. has posted record graduation rates for the last two years, with the country’s highest-ever rate – 81 percent for the 2012-2013 school year – announced earlier this year. The NCES plans to release final graduation rate data this coming spring.

The announcement helps bolster the education agenda Duncan has aggressively pursued ahead of his departure from President Barack Obama’s cabinet in December. Since taking office at the beginning of the administration, Duncan has pushed states to make various changes to their education systems, including by adopting common and more rigorous standards, implementing teacher evaluations based in part on student test scores and expanding charter schools.

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SOURCE: U.S. News and World Report, Lauren Camera