US High School Grad Rate Sees Modest Gains

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A new study shows America's high school graduation rate increased slightly between 2001 and 2009, with the number of graduates up 3.5 percent overall.

The children's advocacy group America's Promise Alliance found that in all, 75.5 percent of students graduated in 2009, meaning one in four did not earn a diploma.
      
New York and Tennessee topped the list of 12 states that had the biggest gains.

In 10 states, however, the graduation rate declined.  Those states are: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, New Jersey, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, Rhode Island and Utah.

Still, Education Secretary Arne Duncan seemed optimistic about the findings.

"This year's report proves struggling schools are not destined to fail," Duncan said.

The head of America's Promise Alliance, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, is hoping for even more progress over the next decade.

"We have continued to make good progress, but we also have much work ahead to achieve our goal of a 90 percent high school graduation rate,'' Powell said.    

So far, only Wisconsin has met the 90 percent benchmark, and Vermont is close to meeting the goal.

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