It’s hard to find bad news in this year’s graduation report from the Department of Public Instruction. More than 83 percent of high school students who began as freshmen four years ago graduated in four years or less. That’s up two points from last year - the previous all-time high.
Since 2006, the four-year graduation rate has gone up 15 points.
The rates for African-American and Hispanic students have risen even more. Black students graduate at a rate 17 points higher than seven years ago. For Latinos, it’s 22 points higher.
One classification of students is falling behind: only 49 percent of students who are “limited English proficient” are graduating in four years, down from 55 percent in 2006.
Individual school districts across the state reported various gains. The graduation rates for Durham, Wake, and Guilford schools all rose slightly. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ graduation rate went up about five percent from a year ago.
Many education advocates point to improvements made in the state’s pre-kindergarten programs in the mid- and late 1990s as a factor in the current higher high-school graduation rates.