In making the announcement, Obama said this:
"When I took office almost eight years ago, we knew that our education system was falling short. I said, by 2020 I want us to be No. 1 across the board, so we got to work making real changes to improve the chances for all of our young people ... And the good news is that we've made real progress."Obama never explained what "real changes" were made to have increased graduation rates; starting with the 2009-2010 school year. And, how, so quickly, the impact was seen in just his first year-and-a-quarter in office. But, perhaps a report from the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) for the Chicago Public School system (CPS) explains the "why" of such a rapid increase in graduation rates. Understand that this is despite the fact that the President's own Education Department, through a testing program called "National Assessment of Educational Progress (also known as the Nation's Report Card)," found that "most" high school seniors weren't prepared for college or -- more importantly -- even a career! Implying that "most" seniors should not have graduated.
Now, back to that OIG report. According to OIG investigations, CPS personnel "systematically" used transfer codes to falsely claim that dropouts were transferring to non-CPS schools or being home schooled in the years 2009 to 2014. It also said that this practice was done "...so as to avoid any negative impact on schools’ attendance metrics or graduation rates caused by reporting dropouts."
Now, I don't know if the Chicago "deceit" is an isolated situation; or is widespread; or something in between. But, it is certainly coincidental that the false reporting began in 2009, and the supposed record graduating rates started at the same time Obama took office. Also, from Obama's own Education Department this year, 19% of high school graduates are functionally illiterate. You can conclude what you want from this statistic, but the implication is that our school systems are simply graduating uneducated people and overstating graduation rates.
President Obama's focus always seems to be on quantity and not quality. Hopefully, Trump's Education Department will do just the opposite.
The High School Graduation Rate Reaches A Record High — Again: http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2016/10/17/498246451/the-high-school-graduation-reaches-a-record-high-again
Office of Inspector General Chicago Board of Education: Annual Report FY 2016: https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/3238391/Chicago-Public-Schools-inpsector-general-report.pdf
Most High School Seniors Aren't College Or Career Ready, Says 'Nation's Report Card': http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2016/04/27/475628214/most-high-school-seniors-arent-college-or-career-ready-says-nations-report-card
U.S. Department of Education, National Institute of Literacy: Illiteracy Statistics and Demographics: http://www.statisticbrain.com/number-of-american-adults-who-cant-read/