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NH in Top 10 for Graduation Rates: Focus on Students with Disabilities

New Hampshire ranks sixth in the nation for graduation rates, but a new report says the state could do even better by graduating more students with disabilities. (Eevenson/Wikimedia Commons)
New Hampshire ranks sixth in the nation for graduation rates, but a new report says the state could do even better by graduating more students with disabilities. (Eevenson/Wikimedia Commons)
May 31, 2016

CONCORD, N.H. - As New Hampshire students take pride in earning their high school diplomas, a new report ranks the state in the top 10 for graduation rates.

New Hampshire ranks sixth in the U.S. in the new report, Building a Grad Nation.

Lead author and senior education adviser Jennifer DePaoli with the group Civic Enterprises says the Granite State is doing great, with a graduation rate topping 88 percent.

She says it could improve by doing more to boost graduation rates for students with disabilities.

"The difference between a 71 percent graduation rate for students with disabilities in New Hampshire versus a 90 percent (rate) is graduating 500 more students," she says.

DePaoli says her group advocates for a national goal of a 90 percent graduation rate by the Class of 2020.

Among the solutions suggested in the report are ending "zero-tolerance" discipline policies, expanding early-warning indicators that kids may be having trouble in school, and making school funding more equitable.

DePaoli says states in New England are doing better overall than 33 others that graduate less than 70 percent of their students with disabilities.

"Could they possibly get to 90 percent or higher without addressing the needs of those students," she says. "Probably, but it has to be all students, and those are students that are really going to have to be addressed."

The report analyzed data using new criteria from the Every Student Succeeds Act.

The law, signed by President Obama in 2015, is focused on fully preparing all students for success in college and careers.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NH