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Article by Brittney Bain June 12, 2015 //   3 minute read

A recent PBS Newshour questions the increase in high school graduation rates. Federal data shows that 81 percent of students finish on time, but NPR found reason to investigate further.

“Their reporting found that the value of a high school diploma can vary widely between, and even within, states. In just nine states and the District of Columbia, students must complete required classes to be considered ‘college-ready’ and to earn a diploma. Twenty-three states allow students to opt in, or out, of a more rigorous path to graduation. That leaves 18 states with requirements below what experts say students need for their next step in life,” according to the piece. The findings are alarming, and they raise questions about how prepared our Nation’s high school students are when they graduate.

A recent column in Huffington Post asks, “If a low-income child is trapped in a school that has been failing its children for years, shouldn't someone in a responsible position act to intervene?”

The author Kati Haycock, president of The Education Trust, makes that case that not enough is being done in Congress, questioning whether or not state requirements will guarantee students everywhere have access to a quality education. “Unfortunately for children, the goal-setting and reporting does not come with a clear expectation of action in chronically low-performing schools and schools that consistently fail any group of children,” writes Haycock. “We are nowhere near delivering on the promise of a quality education for every child. We can't let adults off the hook for failure to take action.”

The New York Post this week highlighted the story of Joseph Kim, a North Korean refugee who visited the Bush Institute last year to tell about his escape from the country’s harsh regime. Kim’s story reminds us why it’s essential to improve the human condition in North Korea, and why brave men and women in many parts of the world risk their lives for freedom. 

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The Side of Freedom Amanda Schnetzer on June 11, 2015