On the key issue of why a young person would leave school without a diploma, researchers found that 25 different factors were mentioned over and over again, with abuse, homelessness and time in juvenile detention topping the list.
Pushing towards graduation is a worthy pursuit -- an important and achievable goal. And graduating 80 percent of kids on time -- phenomenal. But with these 12th grade math and reading scores, it does raise the question: What is the quality of these graduates?
What I've found over the years is that problems -- and solutions -- often look quite different on the periphery. For those of us at the "center" of society, the problems on the periphery can appear smaller because we are physically or psychologically removed from the fallout.
What is needed is a new and fresh vision for change from our nation's leaders -- at all levels. And child advocates across this country must redouble their efforts to demand change and progress at the local, state, and national levels.
The volume of conversation about education has increased over the last few years, but what's often lost are the very real stories of the young people whose lives are impacted and the people and programs that are beating the odds.
I was honored to speak at the international conference of 100 Black Men of America, where this year's focus was on the topic of mentorship. This got me thinking about the skyrocketing high school dropout rate amongst our kids.