"African American and Latino students, in part because of the legacy of discrimination, too often lagged behind our white classmates", President Barack Obama said Monday at Benjamin Banneker Academic High School in Washington, D.C. However, now "more African American and Latino students are graduating than ever before". The graduation rate has raised about 4 percentage points since the 2010-2011 school year, which was the first year all states used a consistent measure of high school completion, according to the White House.
Since 2010-2011, English language learners have made the most progress of any student subgroup, improving their graduation rates 8.1 percentage points.
The numbers show progress among students of all races, as well as low-income students, and those with disabilities.
The Obama administration said the news was encouraging, and President Barack Obama planned to talk about the gains during a visit to a Washington, D.C., high school Monday.
"We've made real progress", the president told students, speaking of the country's educational gains over his time in office.
Just last month, in a major school funding ruling, Connecticut Superior Court Judge Thomas Moukawsher excoriated his state for watered down graduation standards that, he says, have already resulted "in unready children being sent to high school, handed degrees, and left, if they can scrape together the money, to buy basic skills at a community college". On the other end of the spectrum, American Indian/Alaska Native students had a graduation rate of 71.6 percent.
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At the same time, he also warned the students they would need more than a high school diploma to succeed in today's job market.
The increasing graduation rates, however, come against a backdrop of decreasing test scores.
"We recently learned that Americas high school graduation rate went up to 83 per cent, which is the highest on record".
"One hundred percent. It's been awhile since I did math, but 100 percent is good", he said, drawing laughter. In 2008, the George W. Bush administration ordered states to begin using a formula that is considered a more accurate count of how many students actually finish school. We didn't promise everybody that they'd get rich.
But high school diplomas are not enough for future success, Obama said.