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Report: Grad rates up in U.S., down in Az
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Report: Grad rates up in U.S., down in Az

Fewer students graduated from state high schools since 2002, groups say

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While more than half of U.S. states saw an increase in graduation rates between 2002 and 2009, Arizona's rate declined, a report released Monday said.

Arizona was among 12 states that saw a decline in graduation rates, with a drop of 2.2 percentage points, according to the report produced by the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins Univeristy, America's Promise Alliance and Civic Enterprises.

The other states that saw declines were Nevada (-15.6), Connecticut (-4.3), New Mexico (-2.6), Californai (-1.7), Nebraska (1.0), Arkansas (-0.8), New Jersey (-0.5) and Rhode Island ((0.4).

The national rate increased an average of 3.5 percentage points, from 72 percent to 75.5 percent, during that period, the report said.

Twenty states saw significant increases in graduation rates, with Tennessee and New York topping the gains.

Arizona saw some positive change with fewer schools labled "dropout factories" — high schools that graduate 60 percent or fewer students on time.

In 2002, there were 37 "dropout factories" in the state. That number declined to 22 by 2010, with 21,945 fewer students attending those schools, according to the report.

Alabama and Florida saw the largest declines in students attending "dropout factories," the report said.

Wisconsin was the only state to have a graduation rate of 90 percent, according to the report.

Arizona was among 13 states that would have to graduate the largest number of students to reach a 90 percent graduation rate by 2020, the report said.

The other states included Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Virginia and Washington.

A report last June from Education Week found Arizona high school graduation rates had risen sharply over a 10-year period, but state students still lagged behind the national average.

According to that report, Arizona graduated 67 percent of its students in 2008, a 7.6 percentage-point increase from 1998. While it was the 11th-largest increase in the United States during that period, Arizona still ranked 38th among states.

Over that period, the national rate increased from 65.6 percent to 71.8 percent, the highest level since the 1980s, the Education Week report said.

The new research was presented Monday at the Grad Nation summit in Washington by Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University; America’s Promise Alliance, made up of 400 national organizations and founded by Colin Powell; and Civic Enterprises, a public policy firm.

Data were culled from the Averaged Freshman Graduation Rate and Promoting Power for 2010 from the Alliance for Excellent Education.

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