School Dropout Rate 2008
States, schools will have to improve dropout rates
WASHINGTON (AP) - One in four U.S. students quits high school, a grim rate that will have to improve under new federal rules.
Schools and states will now have to track and lift the graduation rates for all students, including minorities and students with disabilities, under regulations being announced Tuesday by Education Secretary Margaret Spellings. Among black and Hispanic kids, one in three drops out of school.
A school might have a high graduation rate but still have a low rate for black or Hispanic students or for children with disabilities. Making schools responsible for progress in every group of students puts pressure on schools to improve.
The new rules are an attempt to extend the country's so-called No Child Left Behind education law to the high school grades from primary school, and they come in the waning days of the Bush administration, which made the law a signature domestic achievement. Under No Child Left Behind, schools have to meet annual targets for improving graduation rates.
Spellings was announcing the rules Tuesday in Columbia, South Carolina.
Schools will be judged on whether children finish high school with a regular diploma in four years. The secretary of education will consider exceptions for kids who take five or six years to graduate, such as students who are learning English or those with disabilities.