United States high school graduation rate hits record high, White House says

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While Obama said he was proud of the achievements schools have made, he criticized the lack of financial support for students in the nation's public schools.

The new data shows improvement among every group of students, including white, African American, Hispanic, Asian and Native American students. Iowa had the highest rate, with 90.8, while New Mexico had the lowest, with 68.6.

"The biggest thing we do is try and help them connect to our school", Schutlz said. This year, only 40 percent of US students scored at college and career ready levels on The National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP, a test that has been trusted to determine college and career readiness for decades.

In Manatee County, since 2011, the district's graduation rate has jumped double digit percentage points, according to Manatee County School District deputy superintendent Cynthia Saunders.

Students with disabilities and English language learners have made larger-than-average gains since 2011, but the groups of students continue to graduate at rates far below average. "And really, it would be extraordinarily hard for a young person to have a quality of life that any of us would want for our own children if he or she doesn't earn a high school diploma at a minimum, because it's just what the job market requires now".

Russell Rumberger, director of the California Dropout Research Project at UC Santa Barbara, expressed some caution about what the graduation rates actually show.

"It's been a while since I did math, but 100 percent is good".

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"And I promise you that teachers here and teachers around the country are not doing it for the pay".

The state of OR has the third-lowest graduation rate in the country with only 73.8 percent of graduating seniors earning diplomas in 2015. "We live in a global economy, and when you graduate, you're no longer gonna be competing just with somebody here in DC for a great job", Obama said in his remarks on education at Benjamin Banneker Academic High School in the American capital.

"This level of on-time high school completion is clearly leaving many students behind and can have a lasting negative impact on our state", he said. "While we certainly celebrate these record graduation rates, we know where we need to focus our efforts most". Reading scores were not much better: flat for fourth-graders and lower for eighth-graders compared to 2013.

Education Secretary John B. King Jr. acknowledged the disconnect.

Increases in the graduation rate for the 2014-2015 school year were seen for all ethnic groups, as well as for disabled students and students from low-income families. "It represents real students in real cities, towns and rural communities who are better prepared for success in college and careers", King said during a conference call with reporters.

"We also feel confident that we will see an increase in our 2016 grad rate, which we expect to be able to announce in the next few weeks", Gist said. "There are now almost 700,000 16- to 19-year-olds who are not in school and do not have a high school diploma".

Deutermann noted that state officials recently have taken steps to ease academic pressures on students - for example, by allowing local school officials to waive some diploma requirements for special education students.