Good news! For the first time, the U.S. is on track to reach the national Grad Nation goal of a 90 percent high school graduation rate by the class of 2020. The new Building A Grad Nation report released today by Civic Enterprises, the Everyone Graduates Center, America’s Promise Alliance and the Alliance for Excellent Education, finds that the national high school graduation rate increased 6.5 percentage points since 2001 to 78.2%, driven in large part by significant gains in Hispanic and African American graduation rates. As a result of this acceleration, more than 200,000 additional students received diplomas in 2010 than in 2006.
Despite the heartening uptick in the nation’s graduation rate, more work needs to be done to keep us on track to reaching the 2020 goal. As the daughter of a former 30+ year educator and the sister of an elementary school teacher, I know how hard those on the frontlines are working to help students succeed. The number one thing parents and kids need to do? Simply show up.
Research shows, however, that up to 15 percent of students (nearly 7.5 million young people) are chronically absent every school year – putting their high school graduation at risk. Missing just 2 or more school days per month can cause a child to fall behind. Every absence, excused or not, can have an impact.
Today, the U.S. Army, the Ad Council and the BoostUp campaign launched a nationwide social media Day of Action to spread awareness about the fact that every single day of school attendance counts. Partner organizations, educators, students and dropout prevention advocates across the country have all mobilized to raise awareness and help us get us closer to a nation where every child graduates high school.
As part of the campaign, we’ve launched a new interactive tool created to spark community engagement. The tool features a campaign PSA, the United Way pledge to become a volunteer reader, mentor or tutor and ways you can get involved to help high school students stay on track to graduate.
We need everyone’s help in getting the word out that #AttendanceCounts on the road to high school graduation! Please join us by sharing the spark above or by participating in the conversation on Twitter @BoostUpNow and tagging your messages with #AttendanceCounts.
High school dropout and attendance facts:
- Missing just two days every month of the school year as early as middle school can significantly increase a child’s risk of dropping out.
- Three out of four students who are chronically absent in 6th grade never graduate from high school.
- Students who attend school regularly in their early school years are more likely to learn to read well by the critical third grade milestone; score higher on standardized tests; and graduate and go on to college than students who are chronically absent.
- Education is crucial to breaking the cycle of poverty, but chronic absenteeism is most prevalent among low-income students.
Let the students in your life know you care and that they have to be in school to be able to succeed and graduate. Visit boostup.org for more information.