Local News

North Carolina reports highest-ever high school graduation rate

Posted August 8, 2013
Updated August 9, 2013

The graduation rate for North Carolina high school students increased to 82.5 percent this year, the highest rate ever reported, the Department of Public Instruction said Thursday.

The rate has been climbing steadily since 2006, when the state first began reporting the number of students who complete high school in four years or less.

In 2006, the rate was 68.3 percent. Last year, the state cracked the 80 percent mark for the first time.

"Raising graduation rates begins in kindergarten and involves educators at every grade level. This is wonderful news for our principals, teachers, counselors and students," State Superintendent June Atkinson said in a statement. “Thanks to all of our educators for their hard work, and congratulations on this success.”

The department released the numbers during a presentation Thursday to the State Board of Education. Board Chairman Bill Cobey said the upward trend is one that board members want to see continued.

“Although it is important that we celebrate this success, we still have a ways to go to ensure that all our students graduate career- and college ready,” he said in a statement.

NC graduation rate reaches record number NC graduation rate reaches record number

The state reported that five-year graduation rates also are improving, from 81.1 percent in 2011 to 83.1 percent in 2013.

Officials credited a number of initiatives for improving the odds of students sticking with school until graduation, including Early College High School, which allows students to earn two years of college credit by the time they get their diploma.

Officials also lauded Career and Technical Education courses, ninth-grade academies, career counseling and course credit recovery programs as helping to keep students in school. North Carolina's graduation rate puts the state in the middle of the pack when compared with the rest of the nation.

The report drew praise from Gov. Pat McCrory, who said the improvement is a testament to the hard work of teachers and principals. He also said the rising rates should be welcomed news to employers.

"For a thriving economy in North Carolina, we have to have students prepared to meet the needs of our workforce, and these graduation rates are a positive sign," McCrory said in a statement.

Durham Public Schools saw the biggest improvement of nearly 3 percent since last year, followed by Chapel Hill Carrboro Schools, which posted a 2.5 percent percent gain.

The Orange County School system was the only one in the Triangle to see a decline. The rate slipped nearly 3 percent.

In Wake County, the four-year graduation rate improved slightly in the past year, from 80.6 percent to 81 percent. Wake schools Deputy Superintendent Cathy Moore said she wants to see more progress.

"Graduation rate is a key indicator of our success as a school system, pre-K through 12," Moore said in a statement. "Overall, the district has made some progress, but not at the rate we would like to see. We will be working with our schools to ensure that district programming, resources and expectations at all levels are clearly aligned to support an increased graduation rate.”

Statewide, graduation rates improved across every category except among students with limited English proficiency. The four-year rate for that group fell from 55 percent in 2006 to 48.8 percent this year.

The highest gain overall was among Hispanic students, who improved their graduation rate by 23 percent in the last six years.

Students classified as "economically disadvantaged" also made significant strides, improving their graduation rate by 20.5 percent in the last six years.

Among the race categories in the report, Asian students had the highest graduation rate at 90 percent this year.

The report also shows more girls than boys earn their diploma year after year.
 

141 Comments

This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • BlahBlahBlahBlahBlah Aug 14, 2013

    A numbers game...If a teacher does not pass a certain number, the admin changes the grades anyway..so what?
    Just pass them all and make the Politico's happy..
    The tests are so bad that the students are stuck in limbo anyway...some so deserve to pass and fail everyone of the beastly tests..
    Education in this state.....for most subjects is one big Test-Taking Joke...
    Take a look at the blogs..stop the common core nc...etc....It is truly laughable and the children are being used for guinea pigs..
    The Race to the Top monies have produced TESTS much chaos.

  • bombayrunner Aug 9, 2013

    Yet Wake is behind the state average and is about to let Charlotte pass them.

    What gives Wake County school board?

    You want us to support a bond?

    No thanks.
    NoTimeForStupidity

    agree ... two words, Tony Tata

  • themacs Aug 9, 2013

    "Wonder how many of these numbers were from Private, Church or Home Schools?"

    Yes, I wonder. They can refuse to accept anyone. And if any students are not making adequate progress toward graduation, they are kicked out and end up in public schools.

  • GK N.Ral Aug 9, 2013

    Anything less than 100% is unacceptable!

  • ILoveDowntownRaleigh Aug 9, 2013

    Impressive numbers. Graduation rates in the Wake County public school system have climbed steadily from 2006 through 2013, going from 68% to 83%.

    "Officials also lauded Career and Technical Education courses, ninth-grade academies, career counseling and course credit recovery programs as helping to keep students in school."

    "The highest gain overall was among Hispanic students, who improved their graduation rate by 23 percent in the last six years."

    What do you know! All good news, which doesn't quite fit the latest neocon rhetoric! In a state that is 47th in the nation in other statistics, Wake County is really humming.

    I'm voting YES on the bond. I can't afford it, and don't have any children in the system, but for the love of your children and our future, I'm all in.

  • whyalltheproblems Aug 9, 2013

    it's a shame that this is even news...it should be a given that there are high numbers of high school graduates. i know that isn't the case...just sayin'.

  • harmstrong4 Aug 9, 2013

    Come on folks we know about the school books. Especially in College. Professors get kick backs. I tried to get books from used book stores and was told that the book had changed. I compared my book with the new one and found the title and cover had changed and the edition number. Every page was word for word the same. professor said I had to have the new book. I canceled the class. It was one of the stupid electives anyway.

  • harmstrong4 Aug 9, 2013

    I dont understand the problem.. Teachers blame parents...parents blame teachers...both blame EOC, etc...now I hear thoughts of going back to the A,B,C,D,F system of grading. Pray tell me what the heck that would do. My Grand-son in Tulsa, Oklahoma just passed a class with a 68 in English and that was considered a D..go figure...by the way he is a number one Football player.

  • josephlawrence43 Aug 9, 2013

    @ doodle doo: Yes, textbooks from the early 1960's are different from today's editions. But then again so is society. Textbooks in the 60's reflected things that were considered "normal" and "accepted" by the standards of the day. One of the reasons for the existence
    of schools is to prepare students to enter the larger society and become self-supporting and productive citizens. The content of the courses taught however, is not determined by the schools but rather by the same society in which they exist. In other words, the schools do not shape society--its the society (and whatever is considered normal, acceptable or desirable)that shapes the content taught in the schools. Not supposed to be that way, but as Walter Cronkite used to say "that's the way it is".

  • WralCensorsAreBias Aug 9, 2013

    Yet Wake is behind the state average and is about to let Charlotte pass them.

    What gives Wake County school board?

    You want us to support a bond?

    No thanks.

More...