The release of last week’s state graduation rate report shows North Carolina has been making slow but steady progress on boosting the percentage of students graduating after four years of high schools. For example, in 2006-07 North Carolina’s 4-year graduation rate was 69.5 percent. In 2009-10, that same number had risen to 74.2 percent.
It’s an injustice to reduce this problem to a mere percentage. We’re talking about real kids who are making decisions that adversely impact the rest of their lives. Just how big is the problem in North Carolina? Education Week’s annual publication Diploma Counts says this past year, 53,848 students of the freshman class of 2006-07 failed to graduate. That’s approximately 299 students a day who will fail to graduate or drop out. Yes, we’ve made progress, but losing 300 students a day is unconscionable. Let’s get back to work.