According to a new report, U.S. high school graduation rates hit 80% for the first time ever. Looking at statistics pooled nationally, the rate has risen 1.3% every year since 2006. Looking forward, the country is projected to his 90% by the year 2020, meeting the goals set by the Promise Alliance, founded by Colin Powell, former secretary of the state.

In most states, to reach 90% requires looking to improve education for low-income children and those with disabilities.

But one has to ask, with quantity up, what of the quality?  Many believes this is a result of the lowering of standards and ‘teaching to the test.’ Some have an even higher critical opinion, stating that ‘No Child Left Behind’ is faulty, and that some do need to leave children behind and set the bar higher, not lower.

There are monetary motivations in some states if students graduate. In Texas, a policy gives districts financial incentives to recover dropouts. These states have an above average graduation rate, at 85%, it’s the highest in the country.

What do you think is the primary reason for the rise in rates so consistently? Is it better teaching methods, or a lowering of standards?

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