For All Kids: How Kentucky is Closing the High School Graduation Gap for Low-Income Students
Kentucky finds itself in an enviable and unusual position. It has not only one of the highest graduation rates in the country but also one of the smallest gaps between the number of low-income and non-low-income graduates, despite a poverty rate above the national average. These accomplishments are a tribute to Kentucky’s commitment to an equitable education for all students over the last 25 years.
“For All Kids: How Kentucky is Closing the High School Graduation Gap for Low-income Students,” a new report by Civic Enterprises and the Everyone Graduates Center at the Johns Hopkins School of Education, takes an in-depth look at the state’s efforts that began with passage of the Kentucky Education Reform Act in 1990. It examines not only at the data but also at the stories behind the numbers in case studies from the Commonwealth’s diverse regions, and highlights lessons that can benefit other states.
Among the report’s findings:
- In 2014, Kentucky graduated 87.5 percent of its students statewide, with nearly 70 percent of the state’s school districts reporting graduation rates of 90 percent or above; 27 percent of its districts graduating at least 80 percent of their students; and only two percent of the state’s 173 districts had graduation rates below 80 percent.
- Low-income students graduate at unusually high rates in Kentucky (84 percent), with more than 46 percent of districts graduating at least 90 percent and only 12.5 percent of districts graduating less than 80 percent. This compares to a national graduation rate of 74.6 percent for low-income students.
- A diverse coalition of business, the judicial system, state government and individual citizens has strengthened the momentum started by the 1990 legislation to bring equity to school systems across the state.
The research demonstrates how one state can create sustained change to benefit all students through broad collaboration, legislative reform, strong accountability, smart use of data and holistic support for schools and students.
The 5 Promises
The 5 Promises represent conditions children need to achieve adult success. The collective work of the Alliance involves keeping these promises to America’s youth. This article relates to the promises highlighted below: