Graduation Does Matter

It was great to read the story from the Associated Press about Montana’s high school graduation rate increasing to 85.4 percent.

According to Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau, this is the highest it’s been since the state’s Office of Public Instruction (OPI) began calculating the rate in 2000.

Last April the Washington Post reported that in 2012, the United States had reached its highest graduation rate in history, with 80 percent of students receiving a diploma in 2012.

Montana seems to be far ahead of the national average, and that should make all Montanans proud.

Students, parents, teachers, administrators, volunteers, school boards, OPI officials, and elected officials all deserve a pat on the back for improving the graduation rates Montana.

It’s a team effort.

One additional benefit that is not talked about much is the economic benefit from more graduates. The AP reported:

Montana is likely to see economic gains as a result of the 520 additional high school students graduating between 2009-2014, according to calculations by the Alliance for Excellent Education. The Alliance estimates a $5.9 million annual boost to the state’s economy going forward.

The estimate of $5.9 million in economic gains should be an incentive for all of us to work harder to improve the graduation rate even more.

According to the OPI, in 2013-2014 there were 1,539 students who dropped out of school. Although drop-outs have also decreased over the past few years, this number shows there is a lot more work to be done.


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