Skip to main content

Building a Grad Nation: Progress and Challenge in Ending the High School Dropout Epidemic

The U.S. graduation rate increased from 72% in 2002 to 75% in 2008. The state of Tennessee and New York City led the nation by boosting graduation rates 15% and 10%, respectively. The report reveals that the number of “dropout factory” high schools fell by 13% — from 2,007 in 2002 to 1,746 in 2008. (Most of the decline in dropout factories — 216 of the 261 — occurred in the South). While these schools represent a small fraction of all public high schools in America, they account for about half of all high school dropouts each year. Experts say targeting these high schools for improvement is a critical part of turning around the nation’s dropout rate.