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U.S. graduation rates hit high of 80 percent

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan hails rise in graduation rates, promises to do better.
By Frances Burns   |   April 28, 2014 at 3:53 PM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, April 28 (UPI) -- While large gaps remain between white and minority students, graduation rates rose for everyone in the 2011-2012 school year, the U.S. Education Department said.

The National Center for Education Statistics reported that the overall rate was 80 percent, the highest ever. That was up from 79 percent in the previous year.

The black graduation rate rose from 67 percent in 2010-2011 to 69 percent. Graduation rates for other minority groups also rose 2 percentage points to 67 percent for American Indians and 73 percent for Hispanics.

The graduation rate for white students rose from 84 to 86 percent and for Asians from 87 percent to 88 percent. Overall, Vermont had the highest graduation rate, 93 percent, and Nevada the lowest, 59 percent.

The NCES determined the graduation rate by dividing the number of students who entered 9th grade in 2007 into the number who graduated four years later with adjustments for students who transferred in or out or died. The 2011-2012 school year is the most recent where the department has calculated the rates.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan, speaking Monday at America's Promise, a Washington foundation started by former Secretary of State Colin Powell, said the high graduation rate is "historic."

“As a country, we owe a debt of gratitude to the teachers, students and families whose hard work has helped us reach an 80 percent high school graduation rate,” he said. “But even as we celebrate this remarkable achievement, our students have limitless potential, and we owe it to all of our children to work together so they all can achieve at higher levels.”

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