A study released this past Tuesday by the Education Department revealed that the high school graduation rate is the highest it has been in thirty-five years, reports The Wall Street Journal. Data from the study showed that in 2010, 78.2 percent of high school students received their diploma in four years. This is actually a 2.7 percent increase from the previous year.
According to the Associated Press, education officials believe that the upward swing in graduation rates is reflective of the competition for new jobs and our nation’s suffering economy. The national dropout rate that year was a mere 3 percent. While rates are up, more than one-fifth of students were still unable to graduate in four years. Many of those who were unable to complete their curriculum in four years remained in school for an additional two or more years to finish.
“If you drop out of high school, how many good jobs are there out there for you? None. That wasn’t true 10 or 15 years ago,” Arne Ducan, Education Secretary expressed to the Associated Press.
“When I grew up on the South Side of Chicago it wasn’t great, but I had lots of friends who dropped out and they could go work in the stockyards or steel mills and they could buy a home, support a family, do OK.”
The study also revealed that students are more likely to drop out of school during their senior year. An estimated one in twenty are expected to drop out before graduation day. Locations with the highest dropout rates include: Arizona, Mississippi and Washington D.C., concluded a previous study by the department.
“The trends are hopeful but our high school dropout rate is still unsustainably high and it’s untenable in many of our African-American and Latino communities. We have a long way to go here. There’s no young person who aspires to be a high school dropout. When someone drops out, it’s a symptom of a problem. It’s not the problem itself. Something has gone radically wrong,” said Duncan.
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Jazmine Denise is a news writer for Madame Noire. Follow her on Twitter @jazminedenise