Building a GradNation 2016: Communities, states have work to do to reach 90%

Posted by Aja Williams on
2016 Building a GradNation

With the goal of a 90 percent graduation rate by 2020 rapidly approaching, the release of the 2016 Building a GradNation report offers a less than rosier picture to make sure all students are at that level.

Although the United States hit a record high of 82.3 percent high school graduation rate, the report showcases that the growth has slowed and for the first time is not on track to reach the goal.

“There are also very real concerns that too many of our most vulnerable students remain trapped in low-graduate-rate schools, and that the alternative pathways that have been created to meet their needs may, in many cases, not be up to the task,” written in the executive summary of the report.

An additional 284,591 students will be needed each year leading up to 2020 in order to attain the 90 percent; however, the report showcases five possible roadblocks to that path, including:

  1. Contentment of states who have graduation rates in the 80s;
  2. A failure to not serve all student populations in order to graduate;
  3.  Passing the most at-risk populations off to other groups or entities as they’re seen as “someone else’s problem”;
  4. Not holding strong graduation rate standards and accountability under the passage of Every Student Succeeds Act
  5. Having different pathways for attaining a diploma for different students.

For the first time, the report really looks at alternative education models, such as virtual, charter and alternative schools, and it looks at the student populations who are still in need of greater supports – minority, English-language learners and students with disabilities.

The full report dives into the graduation rates of states as well as where some states are succeeding as well as some that still need greater development.

This is where American Graduate can play a significant role in helping communities, regions up to the state levels. The latest numbers show more than 128 public radio and television stations have joined forces with more than 1,700 partners and at-risk schools across 48 states and one territory to work on helping youth succeed.

Stations have convened partners and community resources to bring this issue to the forefront through American Graduate.

With four years left in working toward the goal, it’s now become more imperative for public media stations and their respective communities to work toward addressing these issues.

Learn about what stations across the country are doing here. Find out more about the American Graduate initiative.

You can read the full 2016 Building a GradNation report here.