Archive for the ‘K-12’ Category

Is Retaining Students in the Early Grades Self-Defeating?

August 16, 2012 Comments off

Is Retaining Students in the Early Grades Self-Defeating? (PDF)

Source: Brookings Institution

Whether a child is a proficient reader by the third grade is an important indicator of their future academic success. Indeed, substantial evidence indicates that unless students establish basic reading skills by that time, the rest of their education will be an uphill struggle. This evidence has spurred efforts to ensure that all students receive high-quality reading instruction in and even before the early grades. It has also raised the uncomfortable question of how to respond when those efforts fail to occur or prove unsuccessful: Should students who have not acquired a basic level of reading proficiency by grade three be promoted along with their peers? Or should they be retained and provided with intensive interventions before moving on to the next grade?

Several states and school districts have recently enacted policies requiring that students who do not demonstrate basic reading proficiency at the end of third grade be retained and provided with remedial services. Similar policies are under debate in state legislatures around the nation. Although these policies aim to provide incentives for educators and parents to ensure that students meet performance expectations, they can also be expected to increase the incidence of retention in the early grades. Their enactment has therefore renewed a longstanding debate about retention’s consequences for low-achieving students.

Critics point to a massive literature indicating that retained students achieve at lower levels, are more likely to drop out of high school, and have worse social-emotional outcomes than superficially similar students who are promoted. Yet the decision to retain a student is typically made based on subtle considerations involving ability, maturity, and parental involvement that researchers are unable to incorporate into their analyses. As a result, the disappointing outcomes of retained students may well reflect the reasons they were held back in the first place rather than the consequences of being retained.

Recent studies that isolate the causal impact of retaining low-achieving students cast further doubt on the conventional view that retention leads to negative outcomes. Much of this work has focused on Florida, which since 2003 has required that many third graders scoring at the lowest performance level on the state reading test be retained and provided with intensive remediation. Students retained under Florida’s test-based promotion policy perform at higher levels than their promoted peers in both reading and math for several years after repeating third grade; they are also less likely to be retained in a subsequent grade. Although it is too soon to analyze the policy’s effects on students’ ultimate educational attainment and labor-market success, this new evidence suggests that policies encouraging the retention and remediation of struggling readers can be a useful complement to broader efforts to reduce the number of students reading below grade level.

First-Time Kindergartners in 2010-11: First Findings From the Kindergarten Rounds of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010-11

August 15, 2012 Comments off

First-Time Kindergartners in 2010-11: First Findings From the Kindergarten Rounds of the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010-11

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

This brief report provides a demographic profile of the students who were attending kindergarten for the first time in the 2010-11 school year using new data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010-11 (ECLS-K:2011). The report presents information about the demographic and family characteristics of the 3.5 million first-time kindergartners in the kindergarten class of 2010-11, their overall achievement in reading and mathematics in the fall and spring of kindergarten, and their body mass index calculated from their height and weight in each of the kindergarten data collection rounds.

The National Indian Education Study: 2011

July 25, 2012 Comments off

The National Indian Education Study: 2011

Source: National Center for Education Statistics

The National Indian Education Study (NIES) is designed to describe the condition of education for American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) students in the United States. NIES is conducted under the direction of the National Center for Education Statistics on behalf of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Indian Education. The results presented in this report focus on the performance of AI/AN fourth- and eighth-graders on the 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress in reading and mathematics and on the educational experiences of AI/AN students based on NIES survey data.

Nationally representative samples of approximately 9,600 AI/AN students at grades 4 and 8 participated in the 2011 reading assessment and in the mathematics assessment. Students’ performance in 2011 is compared to earlier assessments in 2005, 2007, and 2009. Average reading and mathematics scores for AI/AN fourth- and eighth-graders in 2011 were not significantly different from the scores in either 2009 or 2005. At both grades 4 and 8, AI/AN students attending BIE schools scored lower on average in reading and mathematics than students attending public schools. Among the 12 states with samples large enough to report results for AI/AN students in both 2009 and 2011, average mathematics scores were lower in 2011 for fourth-graders in Montana and for eighth-graders in Minnesota and Utah. None of the participating states had a significant change in average reading scores from 2009 to 2011 at grade 4 or grade 8.

About 10,200 AI/AN students at grade 4 and 10,300 students at grade 8 participated in the 2011 NIES survey. Surveys were also completed by students’ teachers and school administrations. Results showed how the educational experiences of AI/AN students differed based on the type of school they attended and the proportion of AI/AN students in the school. For example, AI/AN students in BIE schools were more likely to report having some or a lot of knowledge about their AI/AN history, have teachers who reported learning about AI/AN students from living and working in the AI/AN community, and attend schools where members of the AI/AN community visit the school to discuss education issues.

New From the GAO

July 24, 2012 Comments off

New GAO Reports

Source: Government Accountability Office

1. Air Pollution: EPA Needs Better Information on New Source Review Permits. GAO-12-590, June 22.
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2. Children’s Health Insurance: Opportunities Exist for Improved Access to Affordable Insurance. GAO-12-648, June 22.
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3. Debt Limit: Analysis of 2011-2012 Actions Taken and Effect of Delayed Increase on Borrowing Costs. GAO-12-701, July 23.
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4. Federal Workers: Results of Studies on Federal Pay Varied Due to Differing Methodologies. GAO-12-564, June 22.
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5. Surface Transportation: Financing Program Could Benefit from Increased Performance Focus and Better Communication. GAO-12-641, June 21.
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6. Financial Literacy: Overlap of Programs Suggests There May Be Opportunities for Consolidation. GAO-12-588, July 23.
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7. K-12 Education: Selected States And School Districts Cited Numerous Federal Requirements As Burdensome, While Recognizing Some Benefits. GAO-12-672, June 27.
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Occupational Outlook Quarterly — Summer 2012

July 2, 2012 Comments off

Occupational Outlook Quarterly — Summer 2012
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

More than play: Three careers in sports
Dennis Vilorio
 Snippet     How to best view PDF files PDF (922K)

Electric vehicle careers: On the road to change
James Hamilton
 Snippet     How to best view PDF files PDF (942K)

High wages after high school—without a bachelor’s degree
Elka Torpey
 Snippet     How to best view PDF files PDF (1.1M)


My Career
My career: Manager
How to best view PDF files PDF (681K)

Grab Bag
Brief items of interest to counselors and students.
How to best view PDF files PDF (1M)

You're a what?
You’re a what?  Tower technician
How to best view PDF files PDF (791K)
Dennis Vilorio

Consumer spending: Comparing four countries
How to best view PDF files PDF (772K)

Factors Influencing the Implementation of School Wellness Policies in the United States, 2009

July 1, 2012 Comments off

Factors Influencing the Implementation of School Wellness Policies in the United States, 2009
Source: Preventing Chronic Disease (CDC)

The quality of school wellness policy implementation varies among schools in the United States. The objective of this study was to characterize the school wellness policy environment nationally and identify factors influencing the quality and effectiveness of policy implementation.

We invited school administrators from 300 high schools to complete a questionnaire; 112 administrators responded. We performed a 2-step cluster analysis to help identify factors influencing the implementation of school wellness policies.

Eighty-two percent of schools reported making staff aware of policy requirements; 77% established a wellness committee or task force, 73% developed administrative procedures, and 56% trained staff for policy implementation. Most commonly reported challenges to implementation were lack of time or coordination of policy team (37% of respondents) and lack of monetary resources (33%). The core domains least likely to be implemented were communication and promotion (63% of respondents) and evaluation (54%). Cluster 1, represented mostly by schools that have taken action toward implementing policies, had higher implementation and effectiveness ratings than Cluster 2, which was defined by taking fewer actions toward policy implementation. In Cluster 1, accountability was also associated with high ratings of implementation quality and effectiveness.

The development of organizational capacity may be critical to ensuring an environment that promotes high-quality policy implementation. Assessing, preventing, and addressing challenges; establishing clear definitions and goals; and requiring accountability for enacting policy across all core domains are critical to ensuring high-quality implementation.

D.C. Leads Nation as U.S. Per Pupil Tops $10,600, Census Bureau Reports

June 22, 2012 Comments off

D.C. Leads Nation as U.S. Per Pupil Tops $10,600, Census Bureau Reports

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

The nation’s elementary-secondary public school systems spent an average of $10,615 per pupil in fiscal year 2010, up 1.1 percent from the previous year, according to statistics released today by the U.S. Census Bureau. District of Columbia public schools spent $18,667 per student in 2010, which is the most of any state or state equivalent. States that spent the most per pupil were New York ($18,618), New Jersey ($16,841), Alaska ($15,783), Vermont ($15,274) and Wyoming ($15,169). (See table 11. Excel | PDF).

These statistics come from Public Education Finances: 2010, a Census Bureau report that provides tables and figures on revenues, expenditures, debt and assets (cash and security holdings) of the nation’s elementary and secondary public school systems for the 2010 fiscal year. The tables include detailed statistics on spending — such as instruction, student transportation, salaries and employee benefits — at the national, state and school district levels.

Public school systems received $593.7 billion in funding in 2010, up 0.5 percent from the prior year. Of that amount, local governments contributed $261.4 billion (44.0 percent), followed by revenue raised from state sources, which contributed $258.2 billion (43.5 percent), and federal sources, which provided the remaining $74.0 billion (12.5 percent).

Revenue from state sources decreased by $18.0 billion, a 6.5 percent decrease from 2009. This is the largest decrease in state funding from the prior year since the Census Bureau began publishing school system finance statistics on an annual basis in 1977 and only the second year since 1977 in which state funding decreased from the prior year (revenue from state sources also decreased 1.7 percent between 2008 and 2009).

Revenue from federal sources increased by $18.1 billion, a 32.5 percent increase from 2009 and the largest increase in federal funding for public school systems since 1977.

Total expenditures by public school systems were $602.6 billion, a 0.4 percent decrease from 2009. This decrease in total expenditures marks the first time since the Census Bureau began publishing school system finance statistics on an annual basis that expenditures by public school systems decreased from the prior year. In 2010, current spending increased 1.2 percent to $524.0 billion, of which $317.8 billion went to instruction and $179.0 billion to support services, such as student transportation and general administration. Capital outlay expenditures amounted to $59.4 billion, a 12.8 percent decrease from 2009.

New From the GAO

June 20, 2012 Comments off

New GAO Reports and Testimony
Source: Government Accountability Office

+ Reports

1. Charter Schools: Additional Federal Attention Needed to Help Protect Access for Students with Disabilities. GAO-12-543, June 7.
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2. Federal Real Property: National Strategy and Better Data Needed to Improve Management of Excess and Underutilized Property. GAO-12-645, June 20.
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3. Intelligence Community Personnel: Strategic Approach and Training Requirements Needed to Guide Joint Duty Program. GAO-12-679, June 20.
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4. Nanotechnology: Improved Performance Information Needed for Environmental, Health, and Safety Research. GAO-12-427, May 21.
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5. Transportation-Disadvantaged Populations: Federal Coordination Efforts Could Be Further Strengthened. GAO-12-647, June 20.
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+ Testimony

1. Commercial Space Transportation: Industry Trends, Government Challenges, and International Competitiveness Issues, by Gerald L. Dillingham, Ph.D., director, physical infrastructure issues, before the Subcommittee on Science and Space, Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. GAO-12-836T, June 20.
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The Nation’s Report Card: What Every Parent Should Know About NAEP

June 20, 2012 Comments off

The Nation’s Report Card: What Every Parent Should Know About NAEP
Source: National Center for Education Statistics

Parents, have you ever wondered how NAEP fits into the big picture and what its results tell us about education? Are you curious about how NAEP sparks change across the country, and what resources are available for you and your child? Find out all of this information and more in a new brochure that the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) has developed especially for you!

"The Nation’s Report Card: What Every Parent Should Know about NAEP" is a promotional, plain language brochure that is written to engage all parents. It introduces parents to what NAEP is and why it is valuable. It also offers a glimpse into the types of information that NAEP provides, and the resources parents can use on their own.

The Nation’s Report Card Releases Results from Innovative Science Assessment

June 20, 2012 Comments off

The Nation’s Report Card Releases Results from Innovative Science Assessment
Source: U.S. Department of Education (National Assessment Governing Board)

The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is leading the way by measuring how well students apply their understanding of science in real-life contexts. The Nation’s Report Card Science in Action: Hands-On and Interactive Computer Tasks from the 2009 Science Assessment marks the first time that both tasks were included as part of the NAEP science assessment.

Today’s results reveal that America’s fourth, eighth, and 12th graders can conduct science investigations using limited data sets, but many students lack the ability to explain results. The report shows that students were challenged by parts of investigations requiring more variables to manipulate, strategic decision-making in collecting data, and the explanation of why a certain result was the correct conclusion.

The new interactive computer tasks and updated hands-on tasks that involve more open-ended scenarios were administered as part of the 2009 science assessment by the National Center for Education Statistics to a nationally representative sample of more than 2,000 students in each of grades 4, 8 and 12. The findings provide important insights for educators and policymakers who are looking for academic approaches that support careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, and encourage scientific inquiry.

+ Full Report

Left Out. Forgotten? Recent High School Graduates and the Great Recession

June 6, 2012 Comments off

Left Out. Forgotten? Recent High School Graduates and the Great Recession (PDF)
Source: John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development (Rutgers University)

A new national survey from the Heldrich Center of recent high school graduates from 2006 to 2011 finds:

  • Only 27% have full-time jobs;
  • Nearly one in three are unemployed and another 15% are employed part time but looking for full-time jobs;
  • The annual earnings of those working full time are barely sufficient to keep them out of poverty;
  • Ninety percent are paid hourly; the current median wage for those employed full time is only $9.25 — just $2.00 above the federal minimum wage; and
  • Seven in ten say that their current job is temporary.

Fewer than 1 in 10 say that their high school education prepared them “extremely well” to get their first job or to be successful at it. Seven in ten believe they will need more education in order to have a successful career, but recent high school graduates are finding it difficult to achieve their goals. They report that economic issues bar them from additional education. Most who were unable to attend college or who dropped out either say they could not afford it or they had to work to support themselves and their family.

AAAS Report Shares Strategies to Recruit New Generation of Highly Qualified Science and Mathematics Teachers

May 31, 2012 Comments off

AAAS Report Shares Strategies to Recruit New Generation of Highly Qualified Science and Mathematics Teachers
Source: American Association for the Advancement of Science

s U.S. science test scores stagnate, a new report by AAAS shows how high-quality science and mathematics teachers can be recruited and trained to help reverse this trend.

The report describes the innovative strategies used by the National Science Foundation’s Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship program, which trains science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) undergraduate majors and STEM professionals to become K-12 teachers. The program has found new ways to recruit, prepare, and support these new teachers by offering them a chance to work in after-school programs, mentoring them with the help of local educators, and providing funding for research projects of their own.

Now a decade old, the program’s successes are being scrutinized as part of a national conversation on how to improve science education.

Improvements are urgently needed, education experts say. Results from the 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) science test, which were released on 10 May, show that only a third of eighth-graders who took the test scored at or above the proficient level for their grade.

Numbers and Types of Public Elementary and Secondary Schools From the Common Core of Data: School Year 2010-11 – First Look

May 14, 2012 Comments off
Source:  National Center for Education Statistics

This report presents findings on the numbers and types of public elementary and secondary schools in the United States and the territories in the 2010-11 school year, using data from the Public Elementary/Secondary School Universe Survey of the Common Core of Data (CCD) survey system.

Full Report (PDF)

Justice Department Study Reveals School Officials More Likely to Learn of Child Victimization Than Police or Medical Authorities

April 26, 2012 Comments off

Justice Department Study Reveals School Officials More Likely to Learn of Child Victimization Than Police or Medical Authorities (PDF)
Source: Office of Justice Programs (U.S. Department of Justice)

Acting Associate Attorney General Tony West today announced the release of Justice Department research examining how authorities learn about child victimization. Acting Associate Attorney General West discussed the findings today in Detroit at the final hearing of the National Task Force on Children Exposed to Violence. The task force, a key part of the Attorney General’s Defending Childhood Initiative, will present policy recommendations to address children’s exposure to violence in a report to the Attorney General in late 2012.

According to the research, school officials knew about victimization episodes more often (42 percent) than police (13 percent) or medical personnel (2 percent). Police were the most likely to know about kidnapping, neglect and sexual abuse by an adult. School, police and medical authorities knew about a majority of serious victimizations, including incidents of sexual abuse by an adult, gang assaults and kidnappings, but were mostly unaware of other kinds of serious victimizations, such as dating violence, rape and attempted rape.

+ Full Report (PDF)

Reading, Mathematics, and Science Achievement of Language-Minority Students in Grade 8

April 25, 2012 Comments off
Source:  National Center for Education Statistics
This Issue Brief examines 8th-grade achievement in reading, mathematics, and science for language minority students (i.e., those from homes in which the primary language was one other than English) who began kindergarten in the 1998-99 school year. Data come from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 1998–99 (ECLS-K), which tracked the educational experiences of a nationally representative sample of children who were in kindergarten in the 1998–99 school year. The analyses present a picture of students’ achievement at the end of the study by focusing on students’ scores on the standardized assessments that were administered in the spring of 2007, when most students were in grade 8. Students are categorized into four groups according to language background and English language proficiency. Additionally, assessment scores are reported by three background characteristics—students’ race/ethnicity, poverty status, and mother’s education—that have been found to be related to achievement.

+ Full Report (PDF)

Parsing Disciplinary Disproportionality: Contributions of Behavior, Student, and School Characteristics to Suspension and Expulsion

April 18, 2012 Comments off
Source:  American Educational Research Association

It has been widely documented that the characteristics of behavior, students, and schools all make a contribution to school discipline outcomes. The purpose of this study is to report on a multilevel examination of variables at these three levels to identify the relative contributions of type of behavior, student demographic variables, and school characteristics to rates of and racial disparities in out-of-school suspension and expulsion. Results indicated that variables at all three levels made a contribution to the odds of being suspended or expelled. Type of behavior and previous incidents at the behavioral level; race, gender and to a certain extent SES at the individual level; and school enrollment, percent Black enrollment, and principal perspectives on discipline at the school level all made a contribution to the probability of out-of-school suspension or expulsion. For racial disparities in discipline, however, school level variables, including principal perspective on discipline, appear to be stronger predictors of disproportionality in suspension and expulsion than either behavioral or individual characteristics.

HIV, Other STD, and Pregnancy Prevention Education in Public Secondary Schools — 45 States, 2008–2010

April 9, 2012 Comments off

HIV, Other STD, and Pregnancy Prevention Education in Public Secondary Schools — 45 States, 2008–2010
Source: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (CDC)

In the United States, 46% of high school students have had sexual intercourse and potentially are at risk for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and pregnancy (1). The National HIV/AIDS Strategy for the United States recommends educating young persons about HIV before they begin engaging in behaviors that place them at risk for HIV infection (2). The Community Preventive Services Task Force (CPSTF) also recommends risk reduction interventions to prevent HIV, other STDs, and pregnancy among adolescents (3). To estimate changes in the percentage of secondary schools that teach specific HIV, other STD, and pregnancy risk reduction topics, a key intervention consistent with those supported by the National HIV/AIDS Strategy and CPSTF (2,3), CDC analyzed 2008 and 2010 School Health Profiles data for public secondary schools in 45 states. This report summarizes the results of those analyses, which indicated that in 2010, compared with 2008, the percentage of secondary schools teaching 11 topics on HIV, other STD, and pregnancy prevention in a required course in grades 6, 7, or 8 was significantly lower in 11 states and significantly higher in none; the percentage of secondary schools teaching eight topics in a required course in grades 9, 10, 11, or 12 was significantly lower in one state and significantly higher in two states; and the percentage of secondary schools teaching three condom-related topics in a required course in grades 9, 10, 11, or 12 was significantly lower in eight states and significantly higher in three states. Secondary schools can increase efforts to teach all age-appropriate HIV, other STD, and pregnancy prevention topics to help reduce risk behaviors among students.

Arts Education in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools: 1999-2000 and 2009-10

April 5, 2012 Comments off

Arts Education in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools: 1999-2000 and 2009-10
Source: National Center for Education Statistics

This report presents selected findings from a congressionally mandated study on arts education in public K–12 schools. The data were collected through seven Fast Response Survey System (FRSS) surveys during the 2009-10 school year. This report provides national data about arts education for public elementary and secondary schools, elementary classroom teachers, and elementary and secondary music and visual arts specialists. Comparisons with data from the 1999–2000 FRSS arts education study are included where applicable.

+ Full Report (PDF)

End of Course Exams

April 4, 2012 Comments off

End of Course Exams (PDF)
Source: Education Commission of the States

This report provides information on states that require students enrolled in courses that have an end-of-course (EOC) exam to take the EOC.

EOC by the numbers:

+ Statewide administration:

  • Twenty-two states currently administer one or more EOCs to all students in an EOC course.
    • This number will increase to 26 states over the next decade as EOCs are anticipated to be implemented in Alabama, Connecticut, Hawaii and Ohio.

+ EOC as exit exam:

  • Eight states currently require students to pass one or more EOC assessments to graduate from high school.
    • This number will likely increase to 15 states by 2020, with theanticipated implementation of EOCs as exit exams in Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Louisiana, Ohio, Texas and Washington.

+ EOC not exit exam:

  • Eleven states currently administer EOCs to all students in an EOC course, but do not require students to earn a passing score. These 11 states include California, New Jersey and South Carolina, which use another assessment as the state’s exit exam.

+ Final course grade:

  • At least five states — Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee — require that the score on the EOC be factored into a student’s final course grade. A sixth state, Texas, offers districts a deferral of a policy to incorporate EOC scores into students’ final course grades, but for the 2011-12 school year only.

Building a Grad Nation: Progress and Challenge in Ending the High School Dropout Epidemic

March 24, 2012 Comments off

Building a Grad Nation: Progress and Challenge in Ending the High School Dropout Epidemic (PDF)
Source: Alliance for Excellent Education

This report shows that high school graduation rates continue to improve nationally and across many states and school districts, with 12 states accounting for the majority of new graduates over the last decade. Tennessee and New York continue to lead the nation with double-digit gains in high school graduation rates over the same period. The number of “dropout factory” high schools—and the number of students attending them—has also declined significantly over the last decade, particularly within suburbs and towns and in the South, and at a more accelerated rate within cities in recent years.

Other progress on the “Civic Marshall Plan” to build a Grad Nation, including progress in meeting the goal of a 90 percent high school graduation rate for the Class of 2020, gives us hope that these positive trends can continue. One state has now met the national high school graduation rate goal and another state has nearly done so; improvements are being made against the early benchmarks of the plan; and a significant number of institutions with reach into schools and communities are aligning their efforts with the Civic Marshall Plan’s benchmarks.

Although some states and school districts show that the dropout crisis can be solved, other states and districts are lagging, with 10 states having lower high school graduation rates recently compared to earlier in the decade. The pace across the country must be accelerated more than three-fold to meet the national goal of a 90 percent high school graduation rate by the Class of 2020. The strong relationship between education and the economy frames this year’s report to reinforce what is at stake in strengthening our nation and preserving access to the American Dream for generations to come.


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