Are fewer students graduating from high school now?
Across the United States, the number of students who graduate from high school 4 years after beginning 9th grade varies greatly from state to state. Even different counties within a state report different statistics. EdWeek reported that “At least 31 states saw declining graduation rates for the class of 2021 overall, more than twice as many as in the previous year.” The largest contributing factor to these lower graduation rates has been the disruptions caused by the pandemic.
Role of the pandemic
Remote learning, COVID-19 outbreaks and quarantines have led to more students missing school, falling behind, and even failing. Family illnesses and economic hardships have contributed to students leaving school early to start work. The teacher and school staff shortages have resulted in teachers having less time to work with students who need extra help.
In the 2020-21 and 2021-22 school years, “kids have had a much longer time to be absent, fail classes and lose credits, have behavior problems,” said Robert Balfanz, the director of the Everyone Graduates Center at the Johns Hopkins University School of Education.
Graduation rate vs. Dropout rate
Although it seems counterintuitive, the graduation rate is not equal to the dropout rate. In Colorado, for example, the graduation rate in 2022 improved from 81.7% to 82.3% but the dropout rate increased to 2.2% over 1.8% the previous year. This is because dropout rates cover grades 9-12 while the graduation rate looks at how many students graduated after 4 years.
Why do high school students fail to graduate?
There are a number of contributing factors, including serious injury, illness, or death. Some drop out due to teen pregnancy. Other students end up incarcerated for criminal activity and a number of students just drop out when they reach the legal age to do so. There are also students who do attend school for four years but don’t have enough credits to graduate with their peers and need to continue for another semester or longer.
According to a recent report by WiseVoter, there are between 25% and 8% of high school students who do not graduate.
Here are the 2022 graduation rates for all 50 states and the District of Columbia
|District of Columbia||68.90%|
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