WENDY PARKULO / NEWS TEAM
New federal data released Monday reveals the fact that the United States’ high school graduation rate has climbed to a record 83.2 percent. This increase is reflected across all racial groups, even low-income households and students with disabilities. Although these new results are promising, test scores have been declining and there is still much room for improvement in the education system. Education Secretary John B. King Jr. addressed concerns about declining accomplishment. “A higher graduation rate is meaningful progress, but certainly we share the concern that we have more work to do to make sure every student graduates ready for what’s next,” he said.
While all racial groups have experienced increases in graduation rates there is still significant disparity between groups: Asian Americans had a 90.2 percent graduation rate, while whites were at 87.6 percent, followed by Hispanics at 77.8 percent, African-Americans at 74.6 percent and Native Americans at 71.6 percent. Obama addressed shortcomings in the amount of importance and financial support given to educational institutions in a speech to a high school with a 100% graduation rate: Benjamin Banneker Academic High School. The president claimed, “There are still too many states that are cutting back on public education. And part of the reason tuition is going up is because states aren’t putting as much money into state education, universities, community colleges as they used to. That’s why, if you’re 18, by the way, you’ve got to vote to make sure that the folks who represent you actually deliver.” Although substantial improvements have been made that deserve to be celebrated, there is still significant room for improvement in the United States educational system that needs to be driven by the newest generation of citizens and voters.