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From the Editor: Getting to the finish line

Kathleen Vail

My older son is a high school senior. He recently received a notification from his guidance counselor about his progress towards earning his diploma. On the green sheet hanging on my refrigerator, the notice says, “You’re almost at the finish line.”

It’s never been a question in our family that my son would graduate from high school and go on to college. But I’ve been wondering about the many young adults out there who do not reach that finish line.

In our cover story this issue, Senior Editor Del Stover writes about how districts have been working to raise the national graduation rates to historic high levels of up to 81 percent. While the percentage is high, it still means thousands of students are failing to earn their high school diploma. And without that diploma, their future looks bleak.

Of course, decades ago, it wasn’t expected or even considered desirable that all students would graduate from high school. High school graduation was for academically inclined, college-bound students. But, as we all know, those days are long gone.

Graduation rates and career and technical education (CTE) are inextricably bound together, as we can see from staff writer Michelle Healy’s feature on CTE trends, “Future Ready.” CTE is capturing would-be-dropouts by showing them the relevance of what they are learning. It blurs the lines between academics and vocation education. All students, college bound or otherwise, can benefit.

Until our next issue…
-- Kathleen Vail, Editor-in-Chief
kvail@nsba.org

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