Strong signs of improvement on graduation
By Christopher B. Swanson | Ed Week
May 31, 2011
For more than two years, average Americans have followed reports on unemployment, the housing market, commodity prices, consumer confidence, and the daily fluctuations of the markets for signals that the economy has finally, and firmly, entered a period of renewed growth and stability. So too have education-watchers been on the lookout, for the better part of a decade, for signs of an educational recovery.
At the heart of the reform agenda lie commitments to combat the U.S. dropout crisis and propel the nation’s schools and its economy at full speed into the 21st century, by ensuring that all students have a chance to earn a meaningful diploma that prepares them for further education and training and a successful adult life. The administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama have espoused such goals, as have major philanthropies, leading nonprofit organizations, prominent business leaders, and state and district policymakers from coast to coast. Even with this high-profile attention and a host of new policy efforts, gaining traction on graduation has been frustratingly difficult.