A bit of good news to close the month of November: The U.S. high school graduation rate is on an upswing and Georgia played a significant role.
According to a report by America’s Promise Alliance, an education advocacy group founded by General Colin Powell and his wife Alma Powell, the U.S. graduation rate increased from 72 percent in 2002 to 75 percent in 2008.
The report says that the “dropout factory” high schools — high schools where no more than 60 percent of the students who start as freshmen make it to their senior year — are decreasing.
The number of these factories, which produce half of the nation’s dropouts each year, fell from from 2,007 in 2002 to 1,746 in 2008. And Georgia is one of the states slowing its dropout assembly line.
The report states: Most of the decline in dropout factory schools occurred in the South, with 216 of the net decline of 261 schools (about 83 percent of the total decline) found across 9 Southern states, led by Texas and Georgia with 77 and 36 fewer dropout factory schools, respectively. The West, largely driven by increases in Nevada and California, saw a net gain of 21 dropout factory schools. Nationwide, 400,000 fewer students (a 15 percent decline) were enrolled in dropout factories in 2008 compared to 2002, with 7 states accounting for 71 percent of the decline (Texas, New York, California, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, and Ohio).
The report notes that Tennessee, Texas, Alabama, and Georgia had balanced improvement across locales, potential signaling the significance of statewide efforts. Tennessee and Texas experienced a decrease in dropout factories in suburbs, towns, cities, and rural areas. Alabama and Georgia experienced progress in three out of four such locales.
In addition, the report found:
–By Maureen Downey, AJC Get Schooled blog