Washington Post blog The Answer Sheet
The recent news that only 58 percent of Washington D.C. high school students graduated on time last year is a call to action. The nation’s capital has one of the lowest graduation rates in the country. The new statistic, based on a new more rigorous way of counting dropouts, is 20 percent lower than the 2010 estimate. And equally troubling: Seven of the 10 high schools with the city’s lowest rates — 60 percent or less — are traditional, non-selective public schools.
This is disheartening but also predictable. These high schools educate the highest concentration of students who show up in ninth grade already significantly off track for high school graduation. They are kids who often have had little support at home or in their communities. All too often, their schools have not been able to provide both the level of instruction and support needed for these most challenged students to succeed.
It does not have to be this way. For the high school graduation rate in Washington D.C. to rise significantly, fewer students need to arrive in ninth grade already half way down the path to dropping out.
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