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New federal high school graduation data: Georgia still trails nation

The National Center for Education Statistics released nationwide high school graduation rates this week. Georgia's 2012-2013 graduation rate of 72 percent ties with Alaska's and puts us in the bottom of the nation.

The only places with lower grad rates on the list are the District of Columbia with 62 percent, Oregon with 69, New Mexico with 70 and Nevada with 71.

Georgia's rate is improving.  In 2010-2011, the feds showed our high school graduation rate at 67 percent, so it advanced by five percentage points in two years.

We have a long way to go to catch up to top performing states. The top states for high school graduation are Iowa with a 90 percent rate, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Dakota, Texas and Wisconsin with 88 percent, and Indiana, New Hampshire and Vermont with 87.

As the state Department of Education notes, Georgia has imposed a higher bar for its students to graduate high school than some other states. For example, Georgia has the same requirements for all students, including special education students, to earn a regular diploma. In some states, special education students may earn a diploma if they complete their IEP.

We may hear some discussion in the General Assembly this session about whether the state needs to reconsider its high school graduation requirements.

Public high school 4-year adjusted cohort graduation rate (ACGR) for the United States, the 50 states and the District of Columbia: School years 2010-11 to 2012-13


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About the Author

Maureen Downey has written editorials and opinion pieces about local, state and federal education policy since the 1990s.