Grad hat in the air

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As Grad Rates Rise, Accountability is a Must

By now, you’ve probably heard that the Department of Education published the latest numbers on grad rates earlier this week, revealing that the on-time high school graduation rate has risen to a high of 84.1 percent.

Leaders of the GradNation campaign quickly published a statement both celebrating the progress and urging the education community to double-down on accountability.

“When the federal government monitors ESSA implementation, it must ensure that state accountability systems result in effective supports and resources for low-performing schools and traditionally underserved students – in particular, America’s high schools. 

“States must ensure that high school diplomas reflect the highest standards for college and/or career readiness and that students have the supports to meet those standards. Districts and communities also have an opportunity, now, to act on locally-developed equity agendas for students in low graduation rate school settings – increasingly, these are high schools with high concentrations of poverty.

“Furthermore, online schools, credit recovery programs and multiple diplomas that are not consistently expected to achieve positive student outcomes also challenge the progress that has been made over the past 10 years and put certain young people at a disadvantage. And any fudging of graduation rate data hurts students and compromises their chances for success. These are issues that we must continue to address and put pressure on if we are to stand by the goal that we seek.”

Leaders also stressed the importance of closing persistent graduation gaps facing students of color, students from low-income families, students with disabilities, homeless students, and English learners.

Read the full statement here.