High School Dropout Rate Must Be Addressed in No Child Left Behind

Nationwide, only about 70 percent of students graduate from high school on time with a regular diploma. And over six million students, nearly 30 percent of those currently enrolled in the nation’s middle and high schools, are at risk of dropping out of school because they have difficulties in reading. These young people generally don’t have problems sounding out the words that appear on the pages of their textbooks and other school materials, but they have trouble comprehending what they are trying to read because their vocabulary and other skills are so poor.

As Congress considers the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) later this year, the needs of these and other high school students must also be addressed. Although many of NCLB’s provisions apply to all public schools, the current law was primarily written with earlier grades in mind. In fact, President Bush’s original proposal for what became NCLB only mentioned “high school

The largest component of the Graduation Promise Act (GPA) is a High School Improvement and Dropout Reduction Fund that would target the nation’s lowest-performing high schools—those with graduation rates of less than 60 percent. Nationwide, there are over 2,000 of these “dropout factories,