Yesterday, President Barack Obama announced that the nation’s high school graduation rate reached a record 83.2 percent. This number is on-trend with the steady rise in graduation rates over the past several years, and the 2016 number represents an increase of nearly one percentage point from 2015.
While this improvement is certainly something to be celebrated, looking at the high school graduation rate alone is not enough to get a true measure of how effective our education system is in preparing students for success after graduation.
“A higher graduation rate is meaningful progress,” says Education Secretary John B. King Jr. “But certainly we share the concern that we have more work to do to make sure every student graduates ready for what’s next” (quoted from this AP Source).
Across the country, Stand for Children is working to improve the likelihood that children graduating from high school are prepared for, and have access to, college and career training.
In Oregon, one of the lowest ranked states for high school graduation, Stand is fighting to pass Ballot Measure 98. This initiative will give high schools the funds needed to make vocational education available, giving students hands-on experience and information about all their career and trade school options. Funding from Measure 98 also provides access to college-level classes, giving students that want it a head start on earning a college degree.
Stand is actively involved in supporting policies and programs that promote college and career readiness in Oklahoma, Arizona, and Colorado as well.
Increasing graduation rates across the country is a big step in the right direction, but we can do more to ensure that these graduates are prepared for the challenges and opportunities to come. Let’s make high school a pathway to success for all children by guaranteeing they have the education and resources they need to step confidently across the graduation stage and into college and the workforce.