Good News in New Jersey High School Graduation Rates
90 percent of high school students reaching graduation day is vital for our national security
Recently, the National Center for Education Statistics released the 2018-2019 school year high school graduation rates. Fortunately, New Jersey has the fourth highest adjusted cohort graduation rate at 90.6 percent. This statistic is a reason to celebrate, not just for the bright futures of our state’s young adults but also for the future national security of our entire country.
I, and the other members of Mission: Readiness, have long been concerned that 69 percent of 17- to 24-year-olds in New Jersey and 71 percent nationally cannot qualify for military service, even if they wanted to serve. The three primary reasons for ineligibility are that young people are too poorly educated, too overweight, or have a record of crime or drug use. A limited recruitment pool threatens our military readiness and erodes our future national security. Even if a young adult does not want to pursue military service, these three factors hurt nearly every other economic sector and dampen New Jersey’s potential future prosperity.
I was glad to hear that New Jersey high schoolers are doing well to reach a key indicator of educational success, which will help to open doors for their futures, whether to military service or other careers. It is concerning to see disparities persist in graduation rates for students of different races, family makeup, and income levels. Every student deserves the support they need to earn their high school diploma.
As an adult leader in a local Boy Scout troop, I see how much public health restrictions of the past year have negatively affected activities that help keep young people engaged in their communities. I hope that as schools reopen, community organizations can restart their youth programs. We can all help New Jersey’s students reach their high school graduation day and maintain our place as a state of academic excellence.
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