It’s Time to Close the Gap in High School Graduation Rates

By John Gomperts

Current graduation rates report a troubling trend: we are heading toward two societies.

On the upside, we’ve reached the highest on-time national high school graduation rate in history, at 81.4 percent. This means that, over the past decade, an additional 1.8 million young people have gotten a real shot at going to college, starting a successful career and achieving their own American dream.

This is tremendous progress, and we as a nation have worked hard to achieve it. Unfortunately, this good news isn’t reaching everyone yet.

The annual Building a GradNation report recently analyzed the data surrounding high school graduation rates, and its findings show clear reason for continued concern and focused attention. While we’ve seen progress for all groups, low-income students, students of color and students with disabilities are graduating at far lower rates than their peers.

See for yourself.

Graduation rates for students from low-income families are 15 percentage points lower than their more affluent peers.

Black students are behind White students by almost 16 percent, and Latino students lag behind by more than 11 percent.

And in the greatest gap of all, students with disabilities are graduating behind their peers by more than 22 percent.

As a country that prides itself as a pioneer of equal opportunity for all, this is simply unacceptable.

So what can we do?

We can start by increasing awareness about these troubling opportunity gaps. Please share this with your friends on Facebook and your followers on Twitter.

For more information on ways you can help, check out the full report.

This blog originally appeared on

John Gomperts is the president & CEO of America’s Promise Alliance, the nation’s largest partnership of organizations, communities and individuals committed to improving the lives of young people, and leader of the GradNation campaign.