Recently, President Obama announced a record -- repeat "record" -- high school graduation rate of 83.2% for the school year 2014-2015. But, as usual its always about quantity and never about quality with this President. At the same time, statistics that tout a "record" are always dubious.
First, let us address the issue of quality.
In 2011, the people at ACT (American College Testing) found that only one in four high school graduates were qualified to go on to college; failing many areas of college-prep. More importantly, 23% of white high school graduates failed in reading while 65% of Latinos and 79% of blacks couldn't read well enough to attend college. This is pretty consistent with other findings by other groups. Additionally, only 59% of blacks graduate from high school. Obama's own Education Department found that 19% of all high school graduates were functionally illiterate and could not read above a 4th grade level. The Programme for International Assessment (PISA)that measures educational achievement in the areas of math, reading and, science among the top economically developed countries found that the U.S. ranked 36th in math; 24th in reading; and 28th in science. As little as 20 years ago, this country was number one in the world in all three categories.
Then, there is this "record" graduation rate. Its a little difficult to believe that 83.2% of high school students graduated when other studies have found that one-in-four does not.
Later this year, the newest PISA results will be released. It will be interesting to see if there is any improvement in educational achievement compared to the 2012 results. Also understand, the PISA result will be the first time common core will be measured.
With all the negatives swirling around high school performance and graduation rates, one questions whether or not we are simply playing a numbers game as we falsely create a positive impression of a failing educational system?
Obama highlights record high school graduation rate: http://www.cnn.com/2016/10/17/politics/obama-high-school-graduation-rate/
College-Bound Students Not Prepared in Basic Subjects: http://abcnews.go.com/US/majority-college-bound-students-qualified/story?id=14325199
Pisa 2012 results: which country does best at reading, maths and science? https://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2013/dec/03/pisa-results-country-best-reading-maths-science
Was the USA ever No. 1 in education? http://www.historynet.com/was-the-usa-ever-no-1-in-education.htm
11 Facts About High School Dropout Rates: https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-high-school-dropout-rates
National Graduation Rate for Blacks 59%: https://www.google.com/search?q=dropout+rate+for+blacks&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8
Illiteracy Statistics: http://www.statisticbrain.com/number-of-american-adults-who-cant-read/