Iowa Department of Education Director Jason Glass today released the following statement about new U.S. Department of Education data showing that Iowa led the nation in state four-year graduation rates in 2010-11, the first year for which all states used a common, rigorous measure. Previously, states used different methods to calculate and report graduation rates, which made state-by-state comparisons difficult.
“Iowa has the highest graduation rate in the nation because of the leadership and commitment that Iowa’s teachers and school leaders demonstrate every day,” Glass said. “A high graduation rate is one key benchmark in our state’s effort to become a world-class education system. However, we must go beyond making sure our students have high school diplomas and take the steps that will ensure all students are prepared for college, careers, and for life. Despite Iowa’s long-standing commitment to educational equity, the state faces significant gaps in achievement driven largely by the challenges facing students with special needs, students who come from low-income backgrounds, and students whose first language is not English. We have a moral imperative to address those gaps and to give Iowa’s children the educational foundation they need to succeed in life.”
The overall four-year graduation rate for Iowa’s Class of 2011 was 88.3 percent.