by Richard J. Murnane, Stephen Hoffman
October 02, 2013
Evidence from two independent sources now shows that, in fact, the graduation rate increased substantially between 2000 and 2010. Plenty of problems persist, however. An assumption implicit in existing state education policies is that the quality of schooling will improve sufficiently to enable high school graduation rates to rise even as graduation requirements are stiffened. It has proven much more difficult to improve school quality than to legislate increases in graduation requirements, however. One reason is that a large percentage of the economically disadvantaged students most affected by the more stringent graduation requirements enter school with weak cognitive and socioemotional skills, which tend to trail them throughout their school careers.