Graduation rates edge up
Wisconsin's public high school graduation rate has improved slightly, and many local high schools' graduation rates, including Janesville's, outpaced the state average.
New figures released by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction on Thursday show a statewide graduation rate of 87 percent in 2011. The U.S. Department of Education requires states to calculate graduation rates based on those students who earn a diploma within four years of starting high school.
The graduation rate of 87 percent is up 1.3 percent from the previous school year. That statistic puts Wisconsin at or near the top when ranked with other states, according to a news release from the Department of Public Instruction.
The previous method of calculation, called the legacy rate, is a formula that counts all students who are expected to graduate in a particular year, including those who drop out, reach maximum age or earn other completion credentials.
Most school districts have programs designed to help students at risk of dropping out.
"However, budget cuts are real barriers to helping our students succeed," said Tony Evers, state superintendent of public instruction, in the news release. "For our children and our state, we must unite around the importance of education and make a bipartisan investment in our kids' future."
"We don't have the support that we've had, necessarily, in the past, but we're still trying to make it work," Janesville schools Superintendent Karen Schulte said when asked about state budget cuts.
The statistics reflect students who graduated within four years of entering high schools. Other students eventually get their diplomas.
"Though the vast majority of students graduate between the ages of 17 and 19, there are some individuals who will need longer to complete high school. It takes perseverance, but that diploma is a key to future success," Evers said. "A high school diploma opens doors to two- and four-year college programs, technical training, and careers."