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Make High School Graduation a National Priority

NEA supports maintaining high school graduation as a national priority.

To ensure that every student reaches his or her potential, it is imperative to continue investing in early awareness initiatives, dropout prevention programs, family and community engagement activities, and professional development opportunities for educators.

  • According to estimates, about one million students fail to graduate from high school every year.
  • Graduation rates for American Indian/Alaska Native, Black, and Hispanic students remain below the national average of 81 percent, reaching 65, 67, and 71 percent respectively.
  • Studies show that each class of high school dropouts costs the nation more than $1.6 trillion over their lifetimes in lost wages and tax revenues, as well as spending for social support programs.
  • Data indicates that the nation would benefit from targeted interventions in more than 1,000 high schools and communities where the graduation rates persist at or below 67 percent.
  • Reaching a graduation rate of 90 percent nationally translates into $5.3 billion more in income, almost 40,000 new jobs, and an increase in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $6.6 billion.
  • A seminal study by Civic Enterprises shared dropouts' insights on why they left school before graduation. They cited a number of factors that would have kept them in school: enhancing the connection between school and work; providing real-world learning experiences; making school more relevant and engaging; and providing more help to struggling students.