Planning for High School Graduation Starts in Early Childhood

It’s hard to believe the Class of 2015 has graduated and soon the Class of 2016 will be returning for their final year of high school. High school graduation rates are at an all-time high and climbing! According to the US Department of Education, 81% of the class of 2013 graduated in four years, and that number is expected to continue increasing for the next several years (the reasoning for this is still being debated, but that’s another story). However, not everyone is walking for graduation, and although the rates are changing, the familiar subgroups of students left behind are not.

A new article from Education Week outlines some of the statistics in geographic gaps and subgroup disparities:

  • Students with disabilities have a 62 percent on-time graduation rate, which is 19 percentage points lower than the overall national rate.
  • The on-time graduation rate for students with limited English proficiency (LEP) is 61 percent, 20 percentage points lower than the national average.
  • Students from low-income families are also less likely to graduate on time, nationwide and for every state. Their graduation rate is 73 percent nationally, 8 percentage points lower than the U.S. average.

If you take a look at the numbers from much younger children in preschool and elementary school, they paint a very similar picture. According to America’s Promise Alliance, children not ready for kindergarten can be half as likely to read well by third grade. Children not reading well by third grade are, in turn, four times more likely to drop out of high school. Sixteen percent of those children do not graduate on time, which jumps to 26 percent for children who have been poor for at least one year and do not read proficiently, and jumps further to 35 percent for those children who are poor and living in poverty, not reading proficiently.

It’s easy to see the importance of understanding language and learning to read and write at a young age. School only becomes more challenging as grade level increases. High-quality early childhood education is critical for these at-risk subgroups of students to help prevent them from dropping out later.

Independent Research and Testimonials have shown that GrapeSEED helps accelerate learning for all subgroups and closes the achievement gap in language. Implementing an effective program like GrapeSEED can put struggling young students on the right path to a diploma. High school graduation may seem like a long way off, but it’s closer than you think.