This fifth annual update on America’s high school dropout crisis shows that, for the first time in history, the nation has crossed the 80 percent high school graduation rate threshold and remains on pace, for the second year in a row, to meet the goal of a 90 percent high school graduation rate by the Class of 2020. After the nation witnessed flat-lining high school graduation rates for three decades, rates have risen about 10 percentage points over the last 10 years. Improvements have been driven by dramatic gains in graduation rates among Hispanic and African American students. But it is in those same populations that some of the greatest challenges remain.
For the first time in history, the nation has crossed the 80 percent high school graduation rate threshold and remains on pace, for the second year in a row, to meet the goal of a 90 percent high school graduation rate by the Class of 2020.
This report highlights key developments in the effort to boost high school graduation rates during the past decade. It also outlines what it will take to get to 90 percent and identifies five critical areas – closing the opportunity gap between low-income students and their middle-to-high-income peers; solving the big city challenge; improving outcomes for students with disabilities; focusing on California; and boosting graduation rates for young men of color in key states – to help the nation reach its goal.
Part 1: Data and Trends highlights the latest graduation rates at the national and state levels, dropout factory trends, fi ve areas of focus to reach the 90 percent goal, and a timeline of key developments in addressing the dropout crisis. Part 2: Progress and Challenge provides an update on four key planks – chronic absenteeism, middle grades reform, adult and peer supports, and re-engaging dropouts – of the nation’s shared effort to implement the Civic Marshall Plan to reach the 90 percent goal. Part 3: Moneyball for Dropout Prevention shares best available research on what works. Part 4: Paths Forward offers policy recommendations and other ways to keep the nation on track to reach the 90 percent goal, with students prepared for college and the workforce. Part 5: Final Word offers a letter from young leaders. Throughout the report, we provide case studies and snapshots to highlight best evidence in dropout prevention and recovery and specific examples of success within schools, communities, states, and the nation.