Lots of ink for this new America’s Promise report finding increased high school graduation rates from 2002 to 2008, as well as a decrease in the number of high schools with very high drop-out rates. Good news, ok, but still no cause for celebration: As my colleague Andy Rotherham notes, our nation’s high school graduation rates are still disgracefully poor--particularly for black and Hispanic men--and the political and policy dynamics frustratingly resistant to changes to improve them. Moreover, it’s important to keep in mind that high school and college enrollment rates tend to be counter-cyclical: Drop-outs decline and enrollment goes up when the economy is bad simply because there’s nothing better for youth to do. If drop-out rates keep improving once the economy eventually does (knock wood), then we’ll have something to celebrate.
The opinions expressed in Sara Mead’s Policy Notebook are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.