D.C. Graduation Rates Up

D.C. Public School officials and students have reason to celebrate: Graduation rates across the city are up 3 percent for the 2008-2009 school year, bringing the overall rate to 72 percent.

Mayor Adrian Fenty and Chancellor Michelle Rhee made the announcement Friday at Cardozo High School. Cardozo itself has seen a 9 percent increase in graduates.

"I can't stress enough how encouraging it is to see clear evidence that reflects their hard work and the dedication of our teachers, parents, and school leaders," Rhee said. She attributed part of the increase to the school system's aggressive summer school and credit recovery programs.

This year's increase is also better when compared with previous years. In 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 the graduation rate increased by less than 2 percent on average.

There was also a boost for minority students. An additional 3 percent of black students graduated in '09, a point officials said is helping to close the achievement gap.

Rhee still has high ambitions.

"We have a long way to go ... 72 percent, though it is an increase, is not anywhere close to where we want to be," she said.

Overall, D.C. has about 45,000 students in the public school system, with more than 9,000 in high school.

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