Data shows Michigan high school graduation rate improving

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DETROIT (AP) — Michigan's high school graduation rate is improving, a national report shows.

The state's 2013-14 graduation rate was nearly 79 percent, according to the report by the U.S. Education Department National Center for Education Statistics. Michigan's rate in 2012-2013 was 77 percent.

The national rate was 82 percent in 2013-14. Iowa led the way with a 90 percent graduation rate. The District of Columbia had the lowest, with 61 percent.

The rate is calculated by using a formula in which the number of graduates in a given year is divided by the number of students who enrolled four years earlier.

"Michigan's graduation rate is trending in the right direction, but we know we have more work to do," said David Murray, spokesman for Gov. Rick Snyder. "We want every student to graduate, and be college and career ready."

Murray says Snyder has strengthened career tech programs so students who stay in school will gain in-demand skills that can lead to good jobs. Middle college and early enrollment opportunities also are being expanded, allowing students to earn college credit if they stay in school, Murray added.

Nationally, black and Hispanic graduation rates of 72.5 percent and just over 76 percent, respectively, lagged behind the 87 percent rate for white students.

In Michigan, blacks graduated at a 64.5 percent rate. The rate for Hispanic students was nearly 69 percent, while the rate for white students was nearly 83 percent.

Graduation numbers have been on the rise in the 82-percent black Detroit Public Schools.

The district's graduation rate was 58 percent in 2008. It was 71 percent in 2014, spokeswoman Michelle Zdrodowski said.

"Over the last five years, Detroit Public Schools put into place a rigorous, data-driven program, in coordination with teachers, principals and counselors, to constantly monitor students' on-time graduation progression," Zdrodowski said.

"We wanted to make sure we decreased the number of students in summer school and keep as many students as possible on target to graduate on time, and we did everything possible, from intense counseling sessions to credit recovery, to make sure our students not only understood when they lost credit but also understood how to regain those credits and get back on track toward graduation as quickly as possible."

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