Raising Graduation Rates in an Era of High Standards: Five Commitments for State Action

Publication Date: February 2008

Publisher: Jobs for the Future, Inc.

Author(s): Cheryl A. Almeida; Adria Steinberg

Research Area: Education

Keywords: high school reform; graduation rates; achievement gaps

Type: Report


A growing number of state leaders have begun to grapple with one of the most difficult and important challenges of K-12 reform: how to substantially increase the percentage of young people graduating from high school while also continuing to bring academic standards into alignment with the skills and knowledge required for success in higher education and employment. Addressing this challenge requires a new level of attention to the graduation and achievement gaps among different income and racial groups. Raising Graduation Rates in an Era of High Standards calls upon state policymakers to commit to five key outcomes, and it suggests strategies and action steps they can take to focus high school reform efforts on ensuring that these commitments are met. By building on and complementing ongoing systemic educational reform efforts, states can--and in some cases have begun to--improve the educational outcomes of and options for high school-aged students, especially low-income and struggling students.