Graduating All Students Career and College Ready
June 15, 2011

Over the past few weeks, I have had the honor and privilege to speak at a number of graduation events across the state. I don't know of an event that brings with it so much joy and anticipation and yes, maybe a little anxiety, for both students and parents. Moving that tassel ends one part of the educational and life journeys for these students but it also starts another.

My heart is full for these students and their families and the excitement and hope for what tomorrow may bring. Yet, at the same time, I'm also saddened for those students who began this same journey as freshmen but for some reason didn't finish it. These students will experience a rougher road with fewer opportunities and will most likely struggle to achieve the American dream for themselves and their families.

Every public school student graduating with a high school diploma has been one of my top priorities since I took office in August 2005. To support this, our state's curriculum must be rigorous and relevant to ensure that graduating seniors are competitive in career or college. The assessments students take along the way should indicate their understanding of the material and their ability to apply that knowledge. And, schools must be held accountable for making certain that all students meet their academic potential.

In 2010, 74.2 percent of high school students graduated in four years. Although this figure has been steadily improving, we are a long way from achieving our ultimate goal.

I was once told that as long as you keep reaching for your goals success is possible. As State Superintendent, I will continue to reach toward the goal of a 100 percent graduation rate. Our children deserve nothing less than this full-on commitment.




June St. Clair Atkinson
State Superintendent