Education

Iowa ranks tops in high school graduation rate

Cedar Rapids Community School District buses at the Education Leadership Support Center in Cedar Rapids on Thursday, August 7, 2014. (The Gazette)
Cedar Rapids Community School District buses at the Education Leadership Support Center in Cedar Rapids on Thursday, August 7, 2014. (The Gazette)

We’re (still) No. 1.

Iowa’s high school graduation rate, at 91 percent, is the highest in the country, according to an Iowa Department of Education news release Monday. The release referred to data on the Class of 2017 recently published by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics.

The Hawkeye State has had the top rate since 2010, the first year all states reported graduation rates in a common way.

This year, states closely trailing Iowa were New Jersey, at 90.1 percent; Tennessee, 89.8 percent; and Kentucky, 89.7 percent.

“While we can be proud of where we are, there’s a lot more work to do to ensure our students not only graduate high school but they do so ready to meet the demands of the 21st century,” Gov. Kim Reynolds said in the release.

She went on to tout her administration’s emphasis on education.

“Education is a top priority for my administration and I am proud of our record investments in pre-K-12 education last year and my efforts to build on that with $93 million in additional dollars,” said Reynolds, pointing to the 1 percent increase in K-12 funding last year that did not keep pace with inflation, and her call during this month’s Condition of the State address for a 2.3 percent bump.

Iowa Department of Education Director Ryan Wise said in the release that the state’s graduation rate is encouraging.

“It’s essential that all Iowa students not only graduate from high school,” Wise said, “but also graduate with the skills they need to succeed in college and in the workplace.”

l Comments: (319) 398-8330; molly.duffy@thegazette.com

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