The advent of record-setting graduation rates nationwide may indeed be something to celebrate. But a far greater and more justified celebration should be reserved for the day in which we can say we have truly offered every American an equitable chance to earn a high school diploma and that every graduate is ready for their next step in education or a career.
As a natural optimist, I like to think that we're making headway on the poverty issue, but that does not mean we can pat ourselves on the back and unfurl the banner proclaiming "mission accomplished." In fact, I would argue that any progress thus far represents the proverbial low-hanging fruit and that further advances will require even deeper commitment and more creative thinking.
Peer pressure, poverty, violence, and drugs at home and in the schools is too much torment for a young mind to accomplish the necessary grades to graduate and live a fulfilling life, not to mention the cultural and economic challenges. There is however, an organization called in ENACT that is doing exciting, innovative work.