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U.S. high school graduation rates reach an all-time high

The national high school graduation rate hit an all-time high in 2013-2014, with 82 percent of students earning a diploma on time, according to federal data released yesterday.

That data show that every category of student — broken down by race, income, learning disabilities and whether they are English-language learners — has posted annual progress in graduation rates since 2010, when states adopted a uniform method of calculating those rates.

“America’s students have achieved another record milestone by improving graduation rates for a fourth year,” said Education Secretary Arne Duncan, who is stepping down at the end of this month. “The hard work of teachers, administrators, students and their families has made these gains possible and as a result many more students will have a better chance of going to college, getting a good job, owning their own home, and supporting a family. We can take pride as a nation in knowing that we’re seeing promising gains, including for students of color.”

The gap between graduation rates for white students and black and Hispanic students has narrowed, but disparities persist.

In 2013-2014, 87.2 percent of white students graduated on time, while the rate for blacks was 72.5 percent and Hispanics was 76.3 percent. Asians had the highest graduation rate, with 89.4 percent. For low-income students, the rate was 74.6 percent; 62.6 percent of English language learners finished on time and disabled students had a 63.1 percent rate.

The data, collected by the National Center for Education Statistics, estimate the graduation rate by dividing the number of high school graduates in a class by the number of students who entered that class as freshmen four years earlier, with some adjustments made for transfers.

Graduation rates can vary wildly from state to state. For example, in Arizona, just 18.1 percent of English language learners graduated on time while the rate for English language learners in Arkansas was 84.1 percent. In Texas, 84.2 percent of black students graduated on time, while in Nevada the rate was 53.9 percent.

The state with the highest graduation rate was Iowa, where 90.5 percent of the Class of 2014 graduated on time. The District of Columbia posted the lowest rate when compared to states.

— The Washington Post

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