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Great news: Graduation rates up

Sunday, February 12, 2012

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As Hoosiers celebrate the conclusion of a truly remarkable Super Bowl experience, there is even more good news that should fill us with pride.

More Indiana students are graduating from high school than ever before.

In 2011, 85.7 percent of public high school students graduated within four years, bringing us closer to reaching our goal of 90 percent of all seniors to reach this critical milestone.

This is the fifth consecutive year of graduation rate increases, and more than half of Indiana's public schools improved their rates over the 2009-10 school year.

Indiana's dropout rate is at a record-low of 6 percent, 2.6 percent fewer dropouts than were reported in the 2009 school year.

Every child deserves a shot at success. We are committed to preparing every student to be college and career ready, and making sure every student earns a meaningful high school diploma is the first step to achieving that goal.

The data is clear and alarming; a student who doesn't complete a high school education will earn significantly less in his or her lifetime than peers who earn diplomas. Further, we know high school dropouts are more likely to be unemployed, become incarcerated or live in poverty.

With comprehensive education reform, we have provided for local schools a framework of high expectations, accountability and flexibility that will encourage improvement and innovation in all areas.

School leaders and teachers are doubling down their efforts in the classroom, and Indiana's students are benefiting.

As encouraging as this positive trend is, we have more work to do.

Too many of our schools still suffer from low graduation rates. We will continue to drive results and improvement until every child receives a high-quality education, and we will be relentless in our support of Indiana's educators who are working to drive student achievement in our classrooms.

The path is clear, and our trajectory is positive. We are driving in the right direction, but there is no looking in the rearview mirror -- not until every student graduates from high school prepared to compete and succeed.