Thursday, October 28, 2010

State Graduation Rate Soars Above 80 Percent

The state of Georgia’s graduation rate rose to an all-time high of 80.8 percent in 2010 – an increase of two percentage points over last year, and more than 17 percentage points since 2003, when the graduation rate was 63.3 percent. Governor Sonny Perdue and State School Superintendent Brad Bryant announced the results October 26 while recognizing three schools throughout the state that saw their own graduation rates increase dramatically in recent years.

“There is nothing greater we can do for a young Georgian than encourage them to stay in school,” Governor Perdue said. “We did something no other state had even thought of – put a graduation coach in every middle and high school and focused their efforts on students at risk of dropping out. Even with our dramatic enrollment growth, 4,000 fewer students dropped out this year than in 2003.”

Governor Perdue set a goal of reaching the 80 percent rate by the time he left office. In 2003, 65,213 students received a high school diploma in Georgia. Last school year, 91,561 students graduated with a high school diploma, meaning 26,348 more students graduated with a full diploma this year than in 2003.

“Georgia’s children are our state’s most valuable resource and today’s announcement is a great testament to the efforts of parents and teachers who work tirelessly to ensure our students succeed,” said Lt. Governor Casey Cagle. “Together we can continue to provide the tools and flexibility they need to ensure every Georgia student has the opportunity to achieve and gain the skills they need to compete in the 21st Century global economy.”

“Improving the graduation rate is the top education priority in the state of Georgia,” said Superintendent Bryant. “Our high school principals, teachers and students should take a lot of pride in the fact that more students than ever are graduating in Georgia. This is a testament to a lot of collaboration and hard work by our teachers and students.”

Graduation Rate Rises for All Students

All groups of students saw significant increases in their graduation rate in 2010. Georgia’s African-American students had a graduation rate of 75.8 percent, up more than 23 percentage points from 2003. The state’s Hispanic students had a graduation rate of 77.6 percent, up more than 29 percentage points from 2003. And Georgia’s economically-disadvantaged students raised their graduation rate to 76 percentage in 2010, up more than 24 percentage points from 2003.

“The improvement in our graduation rate is happening across the board for all students in every subgroup,” Superintendent Bryant added. “We are making steady progress and giving more students than ever the tools they need to be successful after high school.”

Governor Perdue and Superintendent Bryant presented the three schools with $3,000 grants towards graduation improvement programs, a plaque and t-shirts for the seniors and faculty members, all made possible by AT&T. The three schools were selected for their improved graduation rates and academics, including progress on End of Course Tests and postsecondary enrollment.

Graduation and Drop-out Statistics

School Year   Drop out Rate    # of Dropouts   # of graduates receiving regular education diplomas
2009-2010      3.56%                18,543                 91,561
2008-2009      3.8%                  19,942                 88,003
2007-2008      3.6%                  18,960                 83,517
2006-2007      4.1%                  21,100                 75,240
2005-2006      4.7%                  23,377                 72,429
2004-2005      5.0%                  24,289                 67,547
2003-2004      5.1%                  23,627                 65,124
2002-2003      5.5%                  22,861                 65,213

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