Every year, millions of students exit the hallowed halls of the public education system and are thrown in to the world of colleges and seeking gainful employment. Most of those graduate, but not all of them. However, according to recent studies, it seems like the graduates are growing in number. The national high school graduation rate has hit a 40-year high, with 78 percent of high school students earning a diploma. Unfortunately, it seems like those graduation rate spikes might have more to do with the economy than anything else.
“When the economy turns down or there are poor economic conditions, there’s a lack of available jobs for high school dropouts, fewer jobs that they can actually be qualified for,” said Jack Buckley of the National Center for Educational Statistics. ”Historically, there has been a correlation between the dropout rate going down when the economy is weaker.”
Overall, the numbers increased in 38 of the 50 states, with 91.4 percent of Vermont’s class of 2010 graduating on time. Among the worst performers was Nevada, with only 57.8 percent of students graduating on time. New Hampshire and Idaho had the lowest rate of dropouts, with Arizona and Mississippi having the highest rate of dropouts. Only 514,000 or so high school students dropped out in 2009-10; that’s 3.8 percent of boys and 2.9 percent of girls.
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