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Graduation Rates Up in Ohio, but Disparities Persist

PHOTO: As students around the Buckeye State celebrate their high school graduations this weekend, a recent report finds they are also helping Ohio remain on pace to achieve a 90 percent graduation rate by 2020. Photo credit: dee/morguefile.
PHOTO: As students around the Buckeye State celebrate their high school graduations this weekend, a recent report finds they are also helping Ohio remain on pace to achieve a 90 percent graduation rate by 2020. Photo credit: dee/morguefile.
May 22, 2015

COLUMBUS, Ohio - It's graduation season, and an increasing number of Ohio high school seniors are donning a cap and gown.

According to the 2015 Building a Grad Nation report, Ohio's high school graduation rate was up more than 2 percent in 2013 and is slightly higher than the national average of about 81 percent.

While Ohio is making progress, said John Bridgeland, chief executive of Civic Enterprises, one of the organizations that released the report, the state does have one of the highest opportunity gaps in the nation.

"If you are a low-income student in Ohio, your chances of graduating are less than seven in 10," he said. "If you're a middle- or upper-ncome student in Ohio, your chances of graduating are about nine out of 10."

While an increasing number of students with disabilities are completing high school, the report found that students with disabilities in Ohio graduate at a rate of 69 percent, about 15 points below the state average. To increase the overall graduation rate, the report recommended that states expand the use of early-warning systems that can indicate that a child needs intervention and make state funding is more equitable so low-income and affluent students have the same opportunities.

According to the report, for the third year in a row, the country remains on pace to achieve the national goal of a 90 percent on-time high school graduation rate by 2020. Bridgeland said it's a critical benchmark for the future of Ohio and the country.

"If Ohio remains on pace to meet the 90 percent high school graduation rate goal by the class of 2020," he said, "the gross state product would increase by $212 million."

Bridgeland said some Ohio districts helped to drive the national graduation rate increase. Cincinnati Public Schools had a 10-point gain, and the Cleveland Metropolitan School District had an eight-point increase.

The report is online at civicenterprises.net.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH