A Laser Focus on Boosting Graduation Rates in Washington State
January 11, 2019

The new year brings a new focus on getting every Washington student to graduate from high school prepared for college and career opportunities. Network member Stand for Children Washington has rolled out a High School Success Plan to coincide with the 2019 legislative session. Like many states, Washington is facing a significant gap between the number of jobs that will require a post-secondary credential and the number of students on track to receive one.

The plan recommends three strategies to be adopted by the Washington legislature:

  1. Implement Freshmen Success Strategies in Every District — In 2018, Stand Washington launched a program across 10 schools to improve the freshman experience. They want to expand the program across the entire state.
  2. Create Equity in Advanced Classrooms — Stand Washington calls for pushing more students to take academically challenging courses and removing financial barriers for low-income students to access advanced classes—strategies that have been shown to increase graduation rates and the likelihood of enrollment in post-secondary programs. Over 40 districts in the state have already implemented academic acceleration policies.
  3. Ensure Middle & High School Students Have Access to Sufficient Counseling — Stand Washington believes the state must hire more counselors. The state currently funds counselors at a much higher ratio than what is recommended to effectively help all students overcome the barriers to college.

Notably, Stand Washington’s plan won the Seattle Times editorial board’s endorsement. PIE Network members Stand for Children Oregon and Stand for Children Tennessee have also recently addressed high school graduation rates. Read more here and here, and reach out to connect with other advocates working to improve graduation rates.

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Dale Chu

Dale is a consultant for the PIE Network and president at DC Strategies

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