I read an article in the Argus Leader the other morning that revealed a pretty sobering figure. According to data gathered by the Education Trust, the dropout rate for students in the U.S. is one in every four. In fact:
The United States is now the only industrialized country where young people are less likely than their parents to earn a diploma…
Anna Habash, author of the study “Counting on Graduation” stated,
“The U.S. is stagnating, while other industrialized countries are surpassing us… and that is going to have a dramatic impact on our ability to compete.”
This is simply not a good model for a knowledge economy as this article and a little common sense would point out. Habash further noted.
“It’s as if policymakers haven’t gotten the message that knowledge and skills matter more than ever, not just for young people, but for their states’ economies… and even national security.”
Read the rest of the release and download the full report here. Moving ahead in a knowledge economy will require advances in education… not stagnation. Upon reading the full report, you will notice that boosting graduation rates across the board is recommended by the Education Trust as well as the Graduation Counts Compact, as a mechanism to help in solving this challenge.
South Dakota data, on the Education Trust website (click on SD on the U.S. map), reveals on-time graduation rates in SD at 75% overall in 2003 (p. 7). In “Counting On Education” report, South Dakota’s goal was 80% in 2007 (p. 4)
Increasing graduation rates would be an excellent mechanism for boosting education and economic development in South Dakota. It should be within our vision to increase learning for all ages and professions… so we can raise the quality of life across the board. As these reports suggest, a standard is required by NCLB, but the standard levels are set by the states. As a state, we should consider every effort in increasing our standards for education… not only for our state economy, but for the youth and future of this state.
“With progress on all fronts, all students can enjoy independence and success, both of which begin with a high school diploma.”