We are now able to report that from 2008 to 2009 (the most current data available), the number of dropout factory high schools decreased by an additional 112 schools to 1,634, representing an annual rate of progress approximately three times as fast as the previous period.
By 2009, approximately 580,000 fewer students attended a dropout factory high school compared to the beginning of the decade. Although the national high school graduation rate is still too low1 and too few of our graduates have the skills they need to succeed after high school, an essential foundation has been laid to significantly increase graduation rates to 90 percent for the Class of 2020 and concerted efforts to rise to a standard of excellence are bearing fruit. This report is the first in a series of annual updates that will be provided through 2020, as the nation makes progress and confronts challenges to meet this national goal.
In spite challenges, the net reduction of 373 dropout factories between 2002 and 2009 — close to a 20 percent improvement — serves as a testament to the hard, strategic work of the last decade. The remaining 1,634 schools serve as a challenge for all of us to learn from our successes, recalibrate our efforts where we have failed, and maintain the momentum of the last few years. Ensuring that more students graduate from high school both preserves investments made in early childhood education and prepares a generation for the rigors of college and the workforce. Increasing high school and college readiness rates helps individuals lead more productive lives and strengthens our economy and nation. This report provides an update on our progress in implementing the Civic Marshall Plan and highlights the challenges that remain as our nation works to meet its goal.
Download the 2010/2011 Update – Building a Grad Nation Full Report, available here in pdf.