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Utah's public high school graduation rate up 5 years running

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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah's public high school graduation rate has increased five years running, according to data released Monday by the Utah State Board of Education.

Eighty-six percent of students who entered traditional public high schools or public charter schools as freshmen four years earlier graduated last spring, which represents a 1 percent increase over the previous year.

Moreover, there were year-to-year gains across most ethnic, income and English learner groups. Asian students were the only ethnic group not to experience an increase but their 89 percent graduation rate held constant from the previous year and remained the highest among all demographic subgroups.

The data also shows five-year gains across all demographic subgroups, with American Indians and Latino student gaining the most ground over the past year with 4 percent and 3 percent graduation rate increases, respectively.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Sydnee Dickson said it is exciting to be part of a public education system that is improving over time.

“I am grateful to the parents and teachers who are working with their children and students to prepare them for their first steps into their adult lives. I am also proud of our students who are picking up the skills and discipline they need to succeed. We look forward to building on these strengths,” Dickson said in a prepared statement.

According to recent research by the Alliance for Excellent Education, increasing Utah's high school graduation rate to 90 percent would lead to more education and higher incomes for those graduates, which would translate into higher rates of home buying and boost income tax collections.

(Utah State Board of Education)
(Utah State Board of Education)

Sixty percent of the additional high school graduates would enroll in higher education, leading to a roughly $23.2 million increase in annual income for these graduates within 10 years, the research states.

Some 40,100 students graduated from Utah public high schools last spring, with Carbon, Davis, Richfield and Ridgeline high school with the highest rates at 98 percent or above among traditional high schools statewide.

Cache District, meanwhile, had the highest districtwide graduation rate at 95 percent, with Ridgeline High leading the way.

Granite School District's Cyprus High School improved its graduation rate by 11 percent from the previous year, climbing from a 76 percent rate to 87 percent in 2017.

Among public charter schools, the Academy for Math Engineering and Science, the Northern Utah Academy of Math Engineering and Science and the Utah County Academy of Science each had graduation rates of at least 98 percent or above.

This story will be updated throughout the day.


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