#170. Disturbing News on Graduation Rates

Posted on | The Agurban
Disturbing News on Graduation Rates

The news last week out of Washington, D.C. was not encouraging in regards to high school graduation rates. In fact, seventeen of the nation’s 50 largest cities have high school graduation rates lower than 50%. In Detroit’s public schools, 24.9 % of students graduate from high school. Nationally, about 70% of U.S. students graduate on time with a regular diploma and about 1.2 million students drop out annually.

Students in rural and suburban public high schools are more likely to graduate than their counterparts in urban public high schools, according to the report issued by America’s Promise Alliance. Entertainer and activist Bill Cosby and Dr. Alvin Poussaint, professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, co- authored “Come on People: On the Path from Victims to Victors. Poussaint recently called the situation “a catastrophe…. Many of these schools are in the inner- city and are made up of blacks and Latino students who are not graduating at great rates. This increases the level of poverty, it increases crime, it increases the incarceration rate. Eighty-percent of inmates are high school dropouts in the United States. It’s really a drag on the economy. Cosby said the response to the report should be “an outcry and an out- movement.”

Before I visit a community to give a talk, I always look at the Census data on high school graduation or equivalency and the number of residents with a Bachelor’s degree or higher. When I see numbers higher than the national averages from the 2000 Census (80.4% for high school graduates and 24.4% for Bachelor’s degree or higher) I commend those communities to keep doing what they are doing and continue to encourage their young people.

A high school diploma is an important step in preparing students for college and/or the workforce. To see where your community and county ranks in graduation, visitĀ factfinder.census.gov.