In 2015, U.S. high school graduation rates were higher than they have ever been. That year’s overall rate of 83.2 percent seems to be spread across all ethnic groups, as well as disabled students and students from low-income families.
In a recent address to Benjamin Banneker Academic High School in Washington, D.C., President Barack Obama explained that graduating from high school is more important than ever.
“We live in a global economy,” the president said, “and when you graduate, you’re no longer going to be competing just with somebody here in D.C. for a great job. You’re competing with somebody on the other side of the world … because jobs can go wherever they want because of the internet and because of technology.”
He also told the students that the best jobs are going to go to the best educated.
Banneker had a high school graduation rate of 100 percent for the 2014-15 school year. President Obama extolled the virtues of Banneker’s efforts to graduate all of its students and said the school serves as an example of how Washington, D.C.’s graduation rates grew faster than anywhere else in the country.
Still, despite the high graduation rates, there were differences in the overall rates of various ethnic groups. Asian Americans had the highest percentage of graduates, with a 90.2 percent graduation rate. Native Americans had the lowest graduation rate, at 71.6 percent.
In 2008, the Bush administration ordered states to start using a formula that would more accurately track high school graduation rates. The growth in graduation rates has been steady since then. From the 2010-11 school year, the graduation rate increased by about 4 percent.
The White House credited money invested through the Race to the Top grant program for some of those results. That money has helped to improve some of America’s lowest-performing schools, bring broadband internet access in classrooms, and helped many children gain access to preschool programs.
Have you seen an increase in graduation rates in your school? What do you think caused that increase (or lack of increase)? Please share your thoughts in the comments.