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Publications by Gary Orfield for Health Policy Center
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Losing Our Future (Research Report)
Gary Orfield, Daniel Losen, Johanna Wald, Christopher B. Swanson
This report on the state of public high school graduation in the United States has been jointly released by the Urban Institute and the Civil Rights Project at Harvard. The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) requires, for the first time, that high schools and school systems be held accountable in a meaningful way for graduation rates. Despite widespread agreement that graduating from high school represents a critical educational outcome, tested achievement remains the central focus of public debate over and state implementation of the federal law. This report combines a comprehensive analysis of graduation rates using the Cumulative Promotion Index (CPI) indicator developed at the Urban Institute with the findings of a systematic review of graduation rate accountability derived in each state. Woven throughout this report are narratives about students who have either dropped out or felt "pushed" out of school. Collectively, these stories highlight the critical need to provide individual schools and school districts with positive incentives to hold onto more students through graduation. Finally, the report provides recommendations on how both the federal government and individual states can act to address this crisis in high school completion.