Report Details Decrease in “Dropout Factory” High Schools

The America’s Promise Alliance is a cross-sector partnership of corporations, nonprofits, faith-based organizations, and advocacy groups founded by General Colin Powell working to improve lives and change outcomes for children. They released a report this week, “Building a Grad Nation,”  that detailed a significant decline in the number of high schools where fewer than 60% of students graduate, known as “dropout factories.” According to the report, from 2002 to 2008, the number of “dropout factories” fell by 13%. Even though these schools represent a small fraction of all public high schools in America, they account for about half of all high school dropouts each year.

Massachusetts showed modest gains with the percentage of high school graduates rising from 77.6% in 2002 to 81.5% in 2008. When looking at all 50 states, the Commonwealth tied with Hawaii to rank 13th overall in terms of  the largest gains.

“Public schools are showing improvement thanks to reforms and other efforts that have been put in place, but we need to dramatically increase the pace of progress,” said Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education. “No principal, school board, teachers’ union or mayor can resolve a community’s dropout crisis alone. It takes everyone working together to make progress every year and build on success.”

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