Delaware graduation rates rise

    Delaware’s high school graduation rate is up almost five percent over last year according to figures released Tuesday by the state’s department of education.

    Of the students who entered high school in 2010, 84.4 percent graduated by 2013-14, within the expected four years. That was compared to 79.9 percent the year prior, state officials said.

    The cheery news comes just a day before the state’s Department of Education is slated to appear before the General Assembly’s Joint Finance Committee. That meeting will focus, among other things, about how it spent the $119-million it received from the federal government through the Race to the Top Initiative.

    A follow-up meeting Wednesday afternoon with the House of Representatives’ education committee will address the same topic.

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    In its application for Race to the Top funds, Delaware said it would raise the state’s graduation rate to 87 percent by 2013-14 and 92 percent by 2016-17. The state did not meet the first goal, but did show significant gains. And those gains follow a year where graduation rates seemed to plateau. In 2012-13, the state’s graduation rates rose just 0.3 percent higher than the year prior.

    State officials credited Race to the Top initiatives such as ninth grade academies and credit recovery programs for this year’s graduation spike.

    “This is more evidence that the efforts of educators in schools across our state are working,” said state secretary of education Mark Murphy.

    The state also boasted of its dropout rate, which fell from 2.9 percent in 2012-13 to 2.1 percent in 2013-14.

    African Americans continue to make up the plurality of Delaware dropouts. Statewide, 45.4 percent of dropouts were African American, up from 44.8 percent last year. The percentage of dropouts who were Hispanic also climbed, from 12.7 percent to 15.2 percent.

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