A-F School Rankings Draw Local Pushback

As states overhaul their accountability systems under the new federal K-12 law, officials in some are pushing to replace or revamp A-F grading for schools, which supporters tout as an easy way to convey to the public how schools stack up. In recent years, at least 18 states have adopted some version of a system that relies mostly on standardized-test scores and graduation rates to generate letter-grade report cards, similar to the ones students receive Read More

New Research Shows Nearly Half of American Parents Underestimate the Harm of School Absences

A student who misses just two days of school each month — 18 days total in the year — is considered to be chronically absent. However, many parents don’t realize that, even when excused or understandable, absences add up and can greatly impact a child’s education. In the United States, more than 6 million children are chronically absent from school each year. New research released today by the Ad Council found that an overwhelming majority Read More

States Continue to Improve Graduation Rates, Particularly for Underserved Students

New preliminary data released today by the U.S. Department of Education shows that states continue to increase high school graduation rates and narrow the gap for traditionally underserved students, including low-income students, minority students, students with disabilities and English learners. The report is an important first look at preliminary graduation rates reported by states for the 2013-14 school year. The National Center for Education Statistics is expected to release final graduation rate data – including the nation’s newest graduation Read More

From ‘Dropout Crisis’ To Record High, Dissecting The Graduation Rate

In his State of the Union address in January, President Obama had some sure-fire applause lines: “More of our kids are graduating than ever before” and “Our high school graduation rate has hit an all-time high.” Which raised some interesting questions: “Is that really true?” and “Why?” and “How do we know?” and “So what?” A seed was planted that grew into our project this week examining that number. Our reporting shows many of the individual stories Read More

Raising Graduation Rates With Questionable Quick Fixes

To many, 81 percent is a success story. It’s the nation’s all-time-high rate for high school graduation in 2013, the most recent year of federal data. But the NPR Ed Team and reporters from member stations around the country have been digging into that number and found it’s more complicated. Not all the news here is good. Yesterday, we took you to the state with the highest graduation rate — Iowa — to see what it’s doing to keep Read More

U.S. High School Graduation Rate Hits New Record High

U.S. students are graduating from high school at a higher rate than ever before, according to new data from the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics. The nation’s high school graduation rate hit 81 percent in 2012-13, the highest level since states adopted a new uniform way of calculating graduation rates five years ago. “America’s students have achieved another record-setting milestone,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said. “We can take pride as Read More

Six Months of PROGRESS

Six months ago, the Department of Education launched a new blog, PROGRESS, to highlight innovative ideas, promising practices, and lessons learned through K-12 education reforms across the country. Incredible work is happening throughout the U.S. in schools, districts, and states to improve teaching and learning, and, as Secretary Duncan has pointed out, the best ideas do not come from Washington, but from individuals in the field working to improve outcomes for students. PROGRESS has focused on showcasing Read More

Building an education nation

By Tom Brokaw Think of American education as a house of many rooms, each with a distinct function but taken as a whole, this house is shelter against the winds of change buffeting the world and threatening our future. Any objective analysis of that shelter comes to the same conclusion: we have work to do to be sure we’re secure and able to hold our own against whatever this new global climate sends our way. Read More

School Nurse: It’s Not OK to Give Teens Alcohol for Prom and Graduation

By Mary Burch, RN Prom and graduation should be a time of pure joy for high school seniors and the people who love them. But every year, this season can also be a time of sadness for too many families. That’s because along with these important milestones come many opportunities for underage drinking and driving. Each year, communities across the country mourn the deaths of teenagers involved in a car crash that resulted from underage Read More