National high school graduation rate increases - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

National high school graduation rate increases, local schools fall below average

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PASCO, Wash. -- A report by America's Promise Alliance says the national high school graduation rate rose from 72 percent to 75 percent from 2002 to 2008. In that same period, the report said, the number of high-failure schools, commonly dubbed "dropout factories," fell by more than 13 percent.

"Building a Grad Nation: Progress and Challenge in Ending the High School Dropout Epidemic" still paints a grim national picture - each year, more than 1 million youths fail to graduate with their high school classes.

A dropout factory was defined as a school where no more than 60 percent of students graduate on time.

Locally, our graduation rates are slightly below the national average.  In Benton County, in 2008, 72.7% of high school students graduated on time, and the drop out rate is 4.1%.

Franklin County dipped way below the national average, 65.8% of students graduated on time and their drop out rate is 8.1%.
But the schools keep working at it.  Washington State Superintendent of Schools, Randy Dorn says, "I've visited Pasco High School and they have basically mentors at their schools that go kid to kid on Saturdays, call the kid up, make sure they're coming, all those kinds of things that helped in the drop out  rate."

Yakima County has the best drop out rate locally, their high school graduation on time rate is at 73.9%, and their drop out rate is at 5.2%.