Mississippi High School Graduation Rates At All Time High

Mississippi High School Graduation Rates At All Time High
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Desare Frazier

Mississippi students are graduating high school in record numbers. MPB's Kobee Vance reports on how more degrees can mean more jobs for Mississippians.

85 percent of Mississippi students are now graduating high school, beating the national average. Over the past 6 years, graduation rates have gone up 10 percent, marking an all-time high for the state.
Nathan Oakley is the Chief Academic Officer at the Mississippi Department of Education. He says the increased rates are from the hard work of teachers and students across the state.

"Our accountability model changed in 2013 or so to include some additional weighting in the model for graduation. And so districts are looking closely at their students and getting them across the stage with their high school diploma in a 4-year time span."

Oakley says the state achieved these results without lowering any standards for graduation.

Increased graduation rates aren't just good for education, but also for the workforce. Rachel Canter is the Executive Director of Mississippi First.
She says graduating gives teens more options for what they can do with their life.

"Most career training programs require a high school diploma or weather that is to go to a two or four-year college to pursue some other path. The more kids we can get to achieve that benchmark of a high school diploma, the more opportunities they'll have to set themselves up for a better life."

Having more students prepared for the workforce has made Mississippi more marketable to outside business, says Scott Waller, President and CEO of the Mississippi Economic Council.

"In making these improvements, that will give companies a lot more confidence that actually things in Mississippi truly are getting better, truly are making a difference. And we're starting to see the results of that."

The Mississippi Department of Education says their goal is to achieve a 90 percent graduation rate by the class of 2025.