All students -- no matter their zip code -- deserve schools that help them learn the skills they need to compete in today's global economy. That's why the Department of Education has called for directing greater attention and resources to our lowest-performing high schools to ensure more students have the opportunity to graduate and carry on through college.
Thanks to President Obama's efforts and the work of young people, educators, community leaders, and business leaders across the country, high school graduation rates are rising. Take a look:
Newly released data released from the Alliance for Excellent Education and its partners shows that the United States has significant reduction in the percentage of students who do not complete high school on-time—from 1,015,946 students a year in 2008 to 744,193 students in 2012. Data released show that the number of schools where 40% or more students do not graduate on-time has gone down sharply during this the Obama Administration, continuing progress. In 2002, there were roughly 2,000 of these schools across the country, accounting for a significant number of our students who fail to graduate on-time. In 2014, the number of these schools has been reduced to 1,040 – a near 50% reduction.
There's more we can do to build on this progress. Today, the Administration held the first White House Summit on Next Generation High Schools, bringing together innovators who are 'redesigning' the high school experience to better prepare students for a real chance at success. Here are some of the school redesign principles that we know work:
By putting in place reforms that are rigorous, relevant, and focused on real-world experiences, school districts and their communities can better prepare students for graduation and successful adulthoods beyond high school.
Melanie Garunay is the Associate Director of Digital Outbound for the Office of Digital Strategy.