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What's the rush on graduation rates?



It might be tempting to slam Florida for setting the bar too low when it comes to improvement goals for its anemic graduation rates. But compared to the vast majority of other states, Florida's goal of a 1-percent-per-year increase looks downright muscular.

The No Child Left Behind Act requires the improvement targets, but also allows each state to set its own. As this new report from Education Trust points out, most states responded by setting what amounts to no target at all.

North Carolina set an improvement target of 0.1 percent, which means if it meets the minimum increase every year it'll reach its goal of an 80 percent graduation rate in just under a century. Maryland, meanwhile, set an improvement target of 0.01 percent. At that rate, assuming minimal increases, Maryland will reach its goal of a 90 percent grad rate in the year 2463.

Florida reports a 70 percent grad rate to the feds. Its goal is 85 percent.

Ed Trust singles out Georgia, Tennessee and Mississippi as states that have set more ambitious targets -– and taken aggressive steps to meet them.

Ron Matus, state education reporter


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