Make High School Graduation a National Priority
NEA supports maintaining high school graduation as a national priority.
To ensure that every student reaches his or her potential, it is imperative to continue investing in early awareness initiatives, dropout prevention programs, family and community engagement activities, and professional development opportunities for educators.
According to estimates, about one million students fail to graduate from high school every year.
Graduation rates for American Indian/Alaska Native, Black, and Hispanic students remain below the national average of 81 percent, reaching 65, 67, and 71 percent respectively.
Studies show that each class of high school dropouts costs the nation more than $1.6 trillion over their lifetimes in lost wages and tax revenues, as well as spending for social support programs.
Data indicates that the nation would benefit from targeted interventions in more than 1,000 high schools and communities where the graduation rates persist at or below 67 percent.
Reaching a graduation rate of 90 percent nationally translates into $5.3 billion more in income, almost 40,000 new jobs, and an increase in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $6.6 billion.
A seminal study by Civic Enterprises shared dropouts' insights on why they left school before graduation. They cited a number of factors that would have kept them in school: enhancing the connection between school and work; providing real-world learning experiences; making school more relevant and engaging; and providing more help to struggling students.
- America’s Promise Alliance: Captures the latest data, state trends, and advocacy efforts related to increasing graduation rates.
- Association for Middle Level Education: Provides targeted information and resources for middle grades instruction and advocacy.
- Attendance Works: Provides tools, technical assistance contacts, and advocacy documents related to chronic absenteeism.
- Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: Prepares reports on state-by-state spending per-pupil. Data is searchable and users may sign up for policy alerts.
- Children’s Defense Fund: Releases annual figures on the conditions of incarcerated youth. (PDF, 2.6 MB, 91 pgs.)
- Dignity in Schools: Provides annual facts on the number and demographic breakdown of school suspensions and expulsions. (PDF, 610 KB, 2 pgs.)
- Family School Community Partnerships 2.0 (PDF, 7.0 MB, 81 pg.): Compiles strategies and examples of for collaborations and interventions that have improved family engagement and student achievement.
- GPS Indicators: Provides a research-based framework to assess and build advocacy around seven criteria that affect student success. Resources include one-pagers for each criteria and related family and community brochures.
- National Center for Education Statistics: Compiles national data on elementary and secondary schools, including annual reporting of on-time graduation rates. Topic searches are available.
- Restorative Justice Toolkit: (PDF, 1.6 MB, 16 pgs.): Offers a compilation of resources and strategies to foster positive discipline measures to reduce the need for suspensions, expulsions, and referrals.
- Dropout Data: 2007 - 2010