Grad rate increases, but state drops to third worst


Grad rate increases, but state drops to third worst

8:35 p.m. PDT October 17, 2016

Oregon’s graduation rate increased this year, according to data released Monday.

The state’s increase goes hand-in-hand with the national increase. However, Alaska, which was previously ranked below Oregon, had a larger increase, making Oregon drop from fourth-worst state in the country to third-worst.

Oregon’s graduation rate increased from 72 percent to 73.8 percent in the 2014-15 data. Alaska made a greater improvement from 71.1 to 75.6 percent.

The Oregon Department of Education released the nearly 74 percent graduation rateearlier this year.

Nationally, graduation rates are the highest in history.

“We recently learned that America’s high school graduation rate went up to 83 percent, which is the highest on record,” said President Obama in his remarks on the data Monday. “That’s something to be really proud of.”

More African American and Latino students are graduating than ever before, according to the data, and though some places like the District of Columbia remain low, with a graduation rate of only 68.5, this is still improvement from D.C.’s previous rate of 59 percent.

Oregon’s Education Innovation Officer Colt Gill said Oregon saw a substantial improvement over the previous year, however, it’s disheartening for Oregon to have the third-worst graduation rate in the country.

“This level of on-time high school completion is clearly leaving many students behind and can have a lasting negative impact on our state,” he said.

Gill said the Governor has made it a priority to give additional support to English Language Learners, students of color — including Native American students  and students who have experienced trauma. He said these practices and others contribute to a growing graduation rate.

Nonetheless, he said there is still work to be done and if he’s learned one thing in his position, it’s that people want to see change. He said some communities consider continued bottom ranking an “emergency.”

“People care deeply,” he said. “They are worried about their children, their children’s future, and the future of their communities.”

Contact Natalie Pate at, 503-399-6745, or follow on Twitter @Nataliempate, on Facebook at or on the Web at

Oregon graduation rate over the years:

  • 2010-11: 68
  • 2011-12: 68
  • 2012-13: 68.7
  • 2013-14: 72 
  • 2014-15: 73.8

United States graduation rate over the years:

  • 2010-11: 79
  • 2011-12: 80
  • 2012-13: 81.4
  • 2013-14: 82.3
  • 2014-15: 83.2

States with similar rates in 2014-15:

  • Alaska: 75.6
  • Nevada: 71.3
  • New Mexico: 68.6

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Natalie Pate

Natalie Pate is the education reporter for the Statesman Journal in Salem, Oregon. Natalie has previously worked for organizations and publications such as Direct Relief International, Waging Non-Violence, and Amnesty International USA. She has had stories published with USA Today, Associated Press and Ozy, among others. Natalie earned her B.A. in Politics and French and Francophone Studies (FFS) from Willamette University. During her studies, she wrote a Politics thesis titled, "No One is Dying: How and Why the U.S. Federal Government Avoids Executing Prisoners on Federal Death Row" and an FFS thesis, in French, on cannibalism in the 16th and 17th centuries. Natalie is a journalist, performer, traveler, fiction writer and more. She is working to publish her dystopian novella, "Choice," which follows a man during 24 hours in solitary confinement for allegedly committing murder. For more information on Natalie visit, like her on Facebook at, or follow Natalie on Twitter (@Nataliempate) or Tumblr (Nataliempate blog "In the Shoes of a Journalist"). Her reporting with the Statesman Journal can also be found at

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