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Graduation numbers are on the rise

An Echo Press graphic

The Class of 2014 may boast higher numbers of graduates, as trends in Minnesota and across the nation show the total number of students receiving high school diplomas is increasing from previous years.

According to the 2014 Building a GradNation report released on April 28, the nation’s high school graduation rate rose above 80 percent in 2012, the highest it has been throughout U.S. history. The report was put together by Civic Enterprises, the Everyone Graduates Center, America’s Promise Alliance and the Alliance for Excellent Education.

More recent data in Minnesota show state graduation rates reached 79.4 percent in 2013, up from 72 percent in 2003.

Alexandria School District 206 has seen its own increase in high school graduates since 2010. Four years ago, 88.5 percent of students earned their high school diploma in four years. Last year, the number reached 90.1 percent.

While some may think that just above 90 percent is too low a graduation rate, Director of Teaching and Learning for District 206 Julie Critz assures that the number of students receiving high school diplomas is much higher.

“This doesn’t mean the other kids dropped out,” Critz explains. “It just means they need more time.”

The 90.1 percent only includes the students who successfully completed their high school career within four school years.

“It does not include kids who finish up in the summer,” Critz explained. “Or special education students, who are allowed two more years. If you include these groups it’s a much different answer.”

The GradNation report spotlights the need for new and ongoing initiatives to target the lagging graduation rates for low-income students, special education students and students of color for the nation to reach the national 90 percent milestone by 2020.

Annie Harman
Annie Harman is a reporter for Echo Press and The Osakis Review. She grew up in Detroit Lakes and graduated from the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire with a degree in print journalism and history in May 2012. Follow her on Twitter at annieharman
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