U.S. hits all-time high 82% high school graduation rate

Last Updated by Aja Williams on

The United States Department of Education announced an 82 percent graduation rate Tuesday, which inches the country closer to its 90 percent graduation rate goal by 2020.

“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,” Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said. “We can take pride as a nation in knowing that we’re seeing promising gains, including for students of color.”

While the achievement gap has narrowed between minority and white students as well as students with disabilities, the new data still highlights the importance of ensuring all students graduate and become informed, productive citizens.

Through American Graduate, public media stations across the country are working with schools and organizations in their respective communities to ensure all students have an opportunity to succeed.

In looking closer at the data, several states improved their rates, including Alabama, who made significant gains of more than 6 percent. Other states such as Ohio, Nevada and New Mexico took a step back, which showcases the importance of public media stations working with their communities to keep youth on the right path.

Jack Galmiche, President and CEO at the Nine Network of Public Media in St. Louis, Mo., which oversees the national American Graduate initiative: 

"Today’s numbers show we continue to close the gap and make substantial gains, but it’s important to get these numbers above 90 percent for all students. The latest U.S. Department of Education data shows increases in the graduation rate nationally, with continued gaps between white and black and Hispanic students, and those students in poverty.  This reflects a trend we have seen in our work with community partners on American Graduate since it began in 2009. These findings highlight the ongoing need to bring attention to community-based solutions to close this gap, which will in turn benefit the country overall.  One of those proven community-based solutions is the role of caring, consistent adults in the lives of all youth. Through our work on American Graduate, stations across the country have seen clearly that this is more than a school issue, it’s something communities must work together to tackle."

To learn more about today’s announcements or see a further breakdown of states’ graduation rates, visit the U.S. Department of Education website.