ViewPoint: Graduation Rates

October 7, 2008

Last week we reported that Georgia's high school graduation rate rose to its highest level ever.

State School Superintendent Kathy Cox said Tuesday that the final graduation rate for 2008 reached 75.4 percent. That was up three percentage points from 2007, and for the first time it surpassed 75 percent.

Gov. Sonny Perdue said it is "Nothing short of remarkable",  moving all the way from 60 percent in 2002:

Locally, Westover High School's graduation rate was 79.4 percent for last school year, that's four percent above the state average, and that mark is to be commended.

But for Albany's other three high schools, the numbers are not good. Monroe High's graduation rate was 68.7%.

Albany High School was only 53.3%, and the graduation rate at Dougherty High was stunningly poor: 49.5%.

These numbers are great cause for concern. As society moves more and more toward a high-tech economy, the need for basic education becomes absolutely necessary. The students at our under-achieving high schools are going to be left behind, and may be destined to be stuck in low-paying jobs, if they can find jobs.

Increasingly, young people will need good skills to go with a good education to get a job.

We call on parents to stress to their children the importance of getting that high school diploma. It's the foundation of a good career.

And if that doesn't motivate kids to graduate, then let's use old fashioned competition: If Westover can do it, then so can, Monroe, Albany and Dougherty.