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What We Don’t Know About High Schools Can Hurt Us

Education Next – Mark Dynarski

“Imagine your doctor tells you that you have an unhealthy condition. You ask what you can do about it. He responds that he doesn’t know. When you return some time later, he tells you your unhealthy condition is improving. You ask what brought on the improvement, and he responds that he doesn’t know. You ask if any studies are going on about the condition. He shrugs and says a few. High school graduation in the U.S. is like this. First, researchers struggled to understand why it was low and unchanging for a long time. Now, researchers are struggling to understand why it is rising. And there are few studies going on about effective approaches for helping students graduate. For a young person, graduating from high school is an important milestone of their educational progress, and it has economic implications, too. A recent report estimated that by 2020, 65 percent of jobs will require postsecondary education and training beyond high school. [1] Getting to college means getting through high school.”(more)

Reaching 90% Grad Rate Unlikely Without an Acute Focus on Low-Income, Minority Kids, Report Finds

The 71 Million – Mark Keierleber

“As the national high school graduation rate continues to rise — it hit a record 83.2 percent last year — the leaders of a campaign to raise that number to 90 percent by 2020 said Wednesday they fear the country will not meet that goal. Hitting that ambitious target would require a far more intense focus on minority and low-income students, who continue to lag behind. “We’ve got to be real about what the barriers are to success for students,” said John Gomperts, president and CEO of the America’s Promise Alliance.”(more)

The pay gap between college grads and everyone else is now wider than ever

The Denver Post – Christopher S. Rugaber

“Americans with no more than a high school diploma have fallen so far behind college graduates in their economic lives that the earnings gap between college grads and everyone else has reached its widest point on record. The growing disparity has become a source of frustration for millions of Americans worried that they — and their children — are losing economic ground. College graduates, on average, earned 56 percent more than high school grads in 2015, according to data compiled by the Economic Policy Institute. That was up from 51 percent in 1999 and is the largest such gap in EPI’s figures dating to 1973.”(more)

School Graduation Rates Are Deceiving. Here Are 7 Things That Would Help

NPR – Anya Kamenetz

“Once again this year, President Obama hailed the nation’s high school graduation rate as it reached another record high — a whopping 83 percent. “When I took office almost eight years ago, we knew that our education system was falling short,” he said at a Washington, D.C., high school in October. “I said, by 2020 I want us to be No. 1 across the board, so we got to work making real changes to improve the chances for all of our young people. … And the good news is that we’ve made real progress.” High school graduation rates in the nation’s capital, he noted, have grown faster than anywhere else in the country, from 53 percent to 69 percent.”(more)

Colleges must prepare students better for post-graduation jobs, Gallup report says

The Los Angeles Times – Ally Marotti

“Alicia Mendoza was working two part-time jobs when she transferred into Northeastern Illinois University. Swamped with work, school and a daily commute, bolstering her resume with something extra was the last thing on her mind. She thought getting good grades was enough to land her a job after graduation. Now she knows better. “You can have a perfect 4.0 GPA, but that does not guarantee you a job,” said Mendoza, now a 24-year-old MBA student and graduate assistant in Northeastern’s College of Business and Management in Chicago.”(more)

Graduation Rates: What Does a Diploma Tell Us?

Education Next – Andy Smarick

“US high school graduation rates hit an all-time high, 83% according to new federal figures. Since getting kids through secondary schooling is one of our K-12 system’s top goals, this is certainly good news. That diploma connotes important wins: graduates attained valuable skills and knowledge, they’ll have more professional opportunities, and our schools got them to the finish line of a long race. Now the dark cloud. Unfortunately, high-school graduation isn’t always synonymous with successful preparation for post-secondary schooling.”(more)