Click here to close now.


News Feed Item

GradNation Report Confirms 80 percent High School Graduation Rate, Highest in U.S. History

Nation maintains pace to reach 90 percent goal, as Hispanic and African-American students lead on growth of graduation rates

WASHINGTON, April 28, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- For the first time in U.S. history the nation's high school graduation rate rose above 80 percent, according to the 2014 Building a GradNation report released today by Civic Enterprises, the Everyone Graduates Center,  America's Promise Alliance and the Alliance for Excellent Education.

With high school graduation rates moving in the right direction, the U.S. remains on track to meet the national goal of a 90 percent graduation rate by 2020. Since 2006, the overall average graduation rate has increased from 73 percent to 81 percent as measured by 2012 Averaged Freshman Graduation Rates (AFGR) recently released by the National Center for Education Statistics at the U.S. Department of Education. The largest gains have been achieved by Hispanic students with an improvement of 15 percentage points, from 61 percent in 2006 to 76 percent in 2012. African American graduation rates grew from 59 percent in 2006 to 68 percent in 2012.

U.S. High School Averaged Freshman Graduation Rates (AFGR), Classes of 2006-2012
























African American
















Source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data (CCD), "NCES Common Core of Data State Dropout and Graduation Rate Data file," School Year 2011-12, Preliminary Version 1a; School Year 2010-11, Provisional 1a; School Year 2009-10, 1a; School Year 2008-09, 1a; School Year 2007-08, 1b.

"Dropout factories," schools that graduate fewer than 60 percent of students, also continued to decrease in prevalence, with 32 percent fewer schools in 2012 compared to 2002. The number of dropout factories totaled 1,359 in 2012, down from 2,007 in 2002. Since 2002, 1.2 million fewer students, a decline of 47 percent, are enrolled in dropout factories. Additionally, the numbers of African-American and Hispanic students attending these schools has continued to decline.

In 2012, 23 percent of African-American students attended a dropout factory compared to 46 percent in 2002. Fifteen percent of Hispanic students attended a dropout factory compared to 39 percent in 2002.

These numbers and additional analysis are detailed in the 2014 Building a GradNation: Progress and Challenge in Ending the High School Dropout Epidemic, the fifth annual report of its kind, authored by John Bridgeland and Jennifer DePaoli of Civic Enterprises and Robert Balfanz and Joanna Fox at the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University School of Education. The 2014 report is presented by lead sponsor AT&T with supporting sponsorship from Target.

"Our progress is amazing. Close to 400,000 more students per high school class are graduating now than in 2001 and more than 1 million fewer students attend dropout factories," said Robert Balfanz, research scientist and co-director of the Everyone Graduates Center at the Johns Hopkins University School of Education. "The work that remains, however, is also stunning. In a significant number of states, one-third of students from low-income families are not graduating. Likewise, about 40 percent of young men of color and large numbers of students with disabilities do not receive diplomas. This, at a time, when a high school diploma is a necessary gateway to adult success."

"This groundbreaking series of GradNation reports has identified gaps, proposed solutions, documented progress, measured success, and encouraged us all to persevere," said Nicole Anderson, executive director of philanthropy, AT&T. "AT&T is committed to working together with America's Promise Alliance and the many other community organizations that are on the ground every day ensuring that we are on track to raise high school graduation rates across the country."

"Target's longstanding support of education centers around our goal of putting more students on a path to graduation," said Laysha Ward, president, Community Relations, Target. "We are pleased that this year's report shows meaningful progress, and look forward to continuing to partner with America's Promise Alliance in helping all students reach their full potential."

To reach the last 10 percent improvement for the goal means changing the possibilities for nearly 2 million students who will drop out between now and 2020 if nothing is done. The U.S. must focus on efforts in five key geographic and demographic areas to achieve the 90 percent graduation goal:

  • The opportunity gap. Graduation rates for low-income students – those who participate in the federal free and reduced-price school lunch program – are below or well below the national average in 41 states, while middle- and upper-income students are exceeding the national graduation rate in 40 states. In fact, 14 states have met the 90 percent graduation rate goal among their middle- and upper-income students. (see maps attached)
  • Big cities. More than half of the 1,300 remaining dropout factories are in large urban areas. Most big cities with high concentrations of low-income students had graduation rates in the 60 percent range, with some as low as 50 percent.
  • Special education. Students with learning and other disabilities represent 13 percent of all students nationally, and the average graduation rate for these students lags the national average by 20 percent.
  • California. It is the most populous state with the highest poverty rate in the U.S. and a population that is 61 percent non-white. The state is also a laboratory for innovation in education.
  • Graduation rates for young men of color in key states. Despite progress made, graduation rates are still far too low for these populations. In key states in the South and Midwest, graduation rates for African-American males are in the 50 and 60 percents.

As the focus is placed on five areas where the opportunity gap is most acute, the following local and community efforts provide promising actions for reaching the 90 percent graduation goal:

  • Address chronic absenteeism. Chronic absence, or missing more than 10 percent of the school year for any reason, is an early warning indicator of a potential dropout. In fact, chronic absenteeism as early as first grade can be associated with lower academic performance.
  • Improve middle schools. The middle grades are pivotal years that can either put a student successfully on the path to high school, college and career or begin a downward trajectory of disengagement and low achievement in key subjects.
  • Re-engage youth who have left school. The 6.7 million young people between ages 18 and 24 who are not in school, have not graduated and are not working, need attention. In 2012, the employment rate for young adults who did not complete high school reached just 48 percent compared to 64 percent for high school graduates and 87 percent for those who earned a bachelor's degree.
  • Provide more and better adult and peer supports. To succeed in school and life, students need skills like self-awareness, self-control, persistence, collaboration and conflict resolution. Positive role models help instill these skills and provide encouragement to students for reaching their goals even in the face of adversity.

"The dropout challenge is no longer a silent epidemic, and many schools, districts and states are making significant gains in boosting graduation rates," said John Bridgeland, CEO of Civic Enterprises and co-author of the report. "For the first time, the nation is on pace to meet the 90 percent high school graduation rate goal. While this is a historic milestone, graduation gaps affecting our most disadvantaged students threaten our progress in reaching this goal and fulfilling the American dream for all."

The report's principal authors, Bridgeland and Balfanz, will discuss its findings at the April 28 opening session of the 2014 Building a GradNation Summit, held at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, DC. The summit is the premier annual event of the GradNation campaign, a large and growing movement of dedicated individuals, organizations and communities working together to raise the national high school graduation rate to 90 percent by 2020, with no school graduating fewer than 80 percent of its students on time.

"Gains in this year's report are both remarkable and encouraging," said John Gomperts, president and CEO, America's Promise Alliance. "The data presented show that these challenges are not insurmountable, and provide greater clarity for the GradNation campaign. In particular, kids need living and learning environments that are fortified against the effects of poverty."  

For more details, including state graduation rates, more data on "dropout factories," and additional findings, please see the full report. A copy of the 2014 report and related state data indices are available online April 28 at: – Full Building a GradNation report – Complete state-by-state indices – Sortable tables of select state data – State-by-state economic indicators of graduation rates

The Alliance for Excellent Education is a Washington, DC-based national policy and advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring that all students, particularly those who are traditionally underserved, graduate from high school ready for success in college, work, and citizenship.

America's Promise Alliance is the nation's largest partnership dedicated to improving the lives of children and youth. We bring together more than 400 national organizations representing nonprofit groups, businesses, communities, educators and policymakers. Through our Grad Nation campaign, we mobilize Americans to end the high school dropout crisis and prepare young people for college and the 21st century workforce. Building on the legacy of our founding chairman General Colin Powell, America's Promise believes the success of young people is grounded in the Five Promises—Caring Adults, Safe Places, A Healthy Start, Effective Education, and Opportunities to Help Others. For more information, visit

Civic Enterprises is a public policy and strategy firm that helps corporations, nonprofits, foundations, universities and governments develop and spearhead innovative public policies to strengthen our communities and country. Created to enlist the private, public and nonprofit sectors to help address our Nation's toughest problems, Civic Enterprises fashions new initiatives and strategies that achieve measurable results in the fields of education, civic engagement, economic mobility, and many other domestic policy issues.

The Everyone Graduates Center, part of the Center for Social Organization of Schools at the School of Education at Johns Hopkins University, seeks to identify the barriers to high school graduation, develop strategic solutions to overcoming these barriers and build local capacity to implement and sustain the solutions so that all students graduate prepared for adult success.  

State 2012 ACGR rate for Non-Low Income Students


State 2012 ACGR rate for Low-Income Students

Photo -
Photo -

SOURCE America's Promise Alliance

More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Latest Stories
We all know that data growth is exploding and storage budgets are shrinking. Instead of showing you charts on about how much data there is, in his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Scott Cleland, Senior Director of Product Marketing at HGST, showed how to capture all of your data in one place. After you have your data under control, you can then analyze it in one place, saving time and resources.
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
Container technology is shaping the future of DevOps and it’s also changing the way organizations think about application development. With the rise of mobile applications in the enterprise, businesses are abandoning year-long development cycles and embracing technologies that enable rapid development and continuous deployment of apps. In his session at DevOps Summit, Kurt Collins, Developer Evangelist at, examined how Docker has evolved into a highly effective tool for application del...
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound...
As organizations shift towards IT-as-a-service models, the need for managing & protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and now cloud environments grows with it. CommVault can ensure protection & E-Discovery of your data - whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud, or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enterprise.
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, San...
PubNub has announced the release of BLOCKS, a set of customizable microservices that give developers a simple way to add code and deploy features for realtime apps.PubNub BLOCKS executes business logic directly on the data streaming through PubNub’s network without splitting it off to an intermediary server controlled by the customer. This revolutionary approach streamlines app development, reduces endpoint-to-endpoint latency, and allows apps to better leverage the enormous scalability of PubNu...
Apps and devices shouldn't stop working when there's limited or no network connectivity. Learn how to bring data stored in a cloud database to the edge of the network (and back again) whenever an Internet connection is available. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Ben Perlmutter, a Sales Engineer with IBM Cloudant, demonstrated techniques for replicating cloud databases with devices in order to build offline-first mobile or Internet of Things (IoT) apps that can provide a better, faster user e...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Catchpoint, a global leader in monitoring, and testing the performance of online applications, has been named "Silver Sponsor" of DevOps Summit New York, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016 at the Javits Center in New York City. Catchpoint radically transforms the way businesses manage, monitor, and test the performance of online applications. Truly understand and improve user experience with clear visibility into complex, distributed online systems.Founde...
In today's enterprise, digital transformation represents organizational change even more so than technology change, as customer preferences and behavior drive end-to-end transformation across lines of business as well as IT. To capitalize on the ubiquitous disruption driving this transformation, companies must be able to innovate at an increasingly rapid pace. Traditional approaches for driving innovation are now woefully inadequate for keeping up with the breadth of disruption and change facin...
I recently attended and was a speaker at the 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center. I also had the opportunity to attend this event last year and I wrote a blog from that show talking about how the “Enterprise Impact of IoT” was a key theme of last year’s show. I was curious to see if the same theme would still resonate 365 days later and what, if any, changes I would see in the content presented.
The revocation of Safe Harbor has radically affected data sovereignty strategy in the cloud. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Jeff Miller, Product Management at Cavirin Systems, discussed how to assess these changes across your own cloud strategy, and how you can mitigate risks previously covered under the agreement.
Cloud computing delivers on-demand resources that provide businesses with flexibility and cost-savings. The challenge in moving workloads to the cloud has been the cost and complexity of ensuring the initial and ongoing security and regulatory (PCI, HIPAA, FFIEC) compliance across private and public clouds. Manual security compliance is slow, prone to human error, and represents over 50% of the cost of managing cloud applications. Determining how to automate cloud security compliance is critical...
Most of the IoT Gateway scenarios involve collecting data from machines/processing and pushing data upstream to cloud for further analytics. The gateway hardware varies from Raspberry Pi to Industrial PCs. The document states the process of allowing deploying polyglot data pipelining software with the clear notion of supporting immutability. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Shashank Jain, a development architect for SAP Labs, discussed the objective, which is to automate the IoT deployment proces...
Culture is the most important ingredient of DevOps. The challenge for most organizations is defining and communicating a vision of beneficial DevOps culture for their organizations, and then facilitating the changes needed to achieve that. Often this comes down to an ability to provide true leadership. As a CIO, are your direct reports IT managers or are they IT leaders? The hard truth is that many IT managers have risen through the ranks based on their technical skills, not their leadership ab...