BANGOR, Maine — Maine’s high school graduation rate reached an all-time high last year after surpassing the previous year’s rate by one-tenth of a percent, the Maine Department of Education announced Tuesday.
According to new data from the department, about 86.5 percent of students who started high school in 2010 graduated on time four years later. In 2013, the rate was 86.4 percent, but had climbed steadily in recent years. In 2009, just 80.2 percent of Maine high schoolers graduated on time.
Maine schools also saw gains in the graduation rates among economically disadvantaged or disabled students.
Maine DOE reports that 77.8 percent of Maine’s economically disadvantaged seniors graduated on time in 2014, up from just under 77 percent in 2013 and 75.7 percent in 2012. The national average is 73.3 percent.
The four-year graduation rate among students with disabilities — ranging from visual impairment to developmental delays and traumatic brain injuries — also increased to just under 71 percent in 2014, well above the national average of 61.9 percent.
“I want to thank Maine’s educators for their hard work in supporting an increasing number of historically academically disadvantaged students find success,” Maine’s acting education commissioner, Tom Desjardin, said in a Tuesday news release. “Moving forward, we must continue to improve both our graduation rate and the value of the diplomas awarded by our schools so that every student leaves with the foundation they need to achieve their full potential.”
The department hopes to see Maine’s graduation rate climb to 90 percent as its high schools push toward issuing proficiency-based diplomas starting in 2018. According to DOE data, 49 of the state’s 134 high schools met or exceeded that goal in 2014, while 70 schools saw improvement in their four-year graduation rate.
All this graduation data and more is available in the department’s Data Warehouse at www.maine.gov/doe/dataresources.
The Class of 2014 also was notable in that it was the state’s smallest in recent years, dropping to 12,362 students, a decline of more than 400 from the previous year and continuing a trend of declining public school enrollment across the state with the oldest population in the nation.
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