The four-year high school graduation rate in the District of Columbia reached a new high, Mayor Bowser announced yesterday. For the city’s traditional schools the percentage came in at 73.2 percent, only 1.8 percentage points away from the 75 percent goal established under the strategic plan of former Chancellor Kaya Henderson. When she aimed for the 75 percent number, the four-year high school graduation rate was only at 61 percent. The statistic is 3.2 percent greater than the previous school year. The new Chancellor, Antwan Wilson has established a five year goal of 85 percent.
Public charter schools also saw its graduation rate go up, but by a smaller variance. The measure is at 73.4 percent, compared to 72.9 percent for 2016. Therefore, the charter sector has now reached parity with DCPS regarding both graduation and standardized test score proficiency rates. About one-third of all public students taking the PARCC examination last term came in at the college and career readiness ranking of four or five.
Dr. Darren Woodruff, the chairman of the DC Public Charter School Board, reacted this way to the improved graduation rates: “District public school students are doing better than ever before. More students are graduating and the number attending top-performing Tier 1 public charter schools continues to rise for the third year in a row.”
Today, at 11 a.m., the DCPB will release the latest results of its Performance Management Framework results that tier charter schools from one to three.
The Mayor had this to say about the findings: “Ten years ago, our city committed to giving all students a fair shot at success, and today, these historic graduation rates are more proof that our efforts and investments are paying off. These graduation rates are a reminder that when we have high expectations for our young people and we back up those expectations with robust programs and resources, our students can and will achieve at high levels.”
The results also say much about school choice in the nation’s capital. Before charter schools were introduced 21 years ago, the four-year high school graduation rate was in the 40s. Doesn’t this fact make the argument that choice should be increased as quickly and efficiently as possible?