US high school graduation rate ticks up to 82 percent

(AP Photo)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The nation’s high school graduation rate has ticked up slightly to 82 percent, a new high.

The Education Department said Tuesday that the rate for the 2013-14 school year — up from 81 percent the previous year — was the highest since it started using a new, uniform measure in 2010. Still, the numbers show nearly 1 in 5 students leaving high school without a diploma.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan said too many students still aren’t graduating, but he praised the newly released numbers as encouraging.

“America’s students have achieved another record milestone by improving graduation rates for a fourth year,” Duncan said in a statement. “We can take pride as a nation in knowing that we’re seeing promising gains, including for students of color.”

The data showed that black and Hispanic students made some progress in closing the achievement gap with their white counterparts. About 72 percent of black students and 76 percent of Hispanic students earned diplomas in 2013-2014. For white students, the rate was 87 percent.

English language learners and students with disabilities had the lowest graduation rates, at 62 percent and 63 percent, respectively.

Across the country, Iowa had the highest graduation rate, at 90 percent. The District of Columbia had the lowest, a 61 percent graduation rate.

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