Last week, America’s Promise Alliance released its 2012 Grad Nation update on ending high school dropout. The report reintroduces the Alliance’s Civic Marshal Plan, a series of benchmarks to help attain a nationwide graduation rate of 90 percent by 2020. While the report showed progress in a number of areas, it also found the improvement in graduation rates “has not been fast enough to achieve the goal of a 90 percent national graduation rate by the Class of 2020.”
The Civic Marshal Plan is divided into two phases, each consisting of five benchmarks to ensure the target graduation rate is met. The first phase centers on the elementary and middle grades. The benchmarks focus on improvements in grade level reading, chronic absenteeism, early warning systems, middle grades reform and adult and peer supports. The remaining five benchmarks are part the Plan’s second phase which concentrates on high schools. The second phase benchmarks suggest reforms for high school transition supports, “dropout factories,” compulsory school age laws, college and career pathways and dropout recovery.
The update showed significant progress in several of the benchmark areas, particularly the reform of “dropout factories,” high schools which graduate 60% or fewer of their students on time. There were 84 fewer “dropout factories” in 2010 than 2009. Additionally, twelve states showed sustained improvement in graduation rates since 2002. However, the report reiterated that this progress was insufficient to reach a 90 percent graduation rate by 2020 and highlighted 10 states where graduation rates had decreased since 2002.
To read more about the Grad Nation initiative or to download a copy of the 2012 update, please visit the America’s Promise Alliance website.
Note: This blog post was originally authored under the auspices of the National High School Center at the American Institutes for Research (AIR). The National High School Center’s blog, High School Matters, which ran until March 2013, provided an objective perspective on the latest research, issues, and events that affected high school improvement. The CCRS Center plans to continue relevant work originally developed under the National High School Center grant. National High School Center blog posts that pertain to CCRS Center issues are included on this website as a resource to our stakeholders.