With one in four U.S. public school students dropping out of high school before graduation, America continues to face a dropout epidemic. Dropping out makes it harder for these young people to succeed in life, our economy loses hundreds of billions of dollars in productivity and our communities suffer enormous social costs. The 2012 report update of Building a Grad Nation: Progress and Challenge in Ending the High School Dropout Epidemic, released March 19 by the Alliance for Excellent Education, America’s Promise Alliance, Civic Enterprises, and the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University, shows that the nation continues to make progress, with more than half of states increasing graduation rates.
The report also reveals that the number of “dropout factory” high schools—those graduating 60 percent or fewer students on time—decreased by 457 between 2002 and 2010, with the rate of decline accelerating since 2008. The number of “dropout factories” totaled 1,550 in 2010, down from 1,634 in 2009 and a high of 2,007 in 2002. The number declined by 84 between 2009 and 2010. As a result, 790,000 fewer students attended dropout factories in 2010 than 2002.