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Georgia High School Graduation Rate Increases

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File photo of graduates. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

File photo of graduates. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

ATLANTA (AP) — The graduation rate for the state’s public high schools increased by nearly two percentage points over the previous year, state education officials said.

The Georgia Department of Education released the 2013 graduation figures Wednesday morning.

The graduation rate increased from 69.7 percent in 2012 to 71.5 percent in 2013. The rate for African-American students was 64.3 percent; and the rate for Hispanic students was 62.4 percent.

“Despite the economic challenges our districts are facing, we have more high school students graduating today than we have had in several years, which is a testament to the hard work of our students and teachers,” state School Superintendent John Barge said in a statement.

“We must continue our progress to ensure all students cross the finish line, because without a high school diploma, their options are very limited,” Barge added.

Atlanta Public Schools saw its graduation rate rise to 58.6 percent, up from just below 51 percent the year before, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

At 93.9 percent, Decatur City Schools has the highest graduation rate in metro Atlanta, followed by Buford City Schools at 90.3 percent and Forsyth County Schools at 89.5 percent, the Atlanta newspaper reported.

“Today’s announcement that Georgia’s graduation rate has jumped almost 2 percentage points is welcome news,” Steve Dolinger, president of the Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education, said in a statement.

“Moving from 69.7 (2012) to 71.5 percent (2013) is both an indicator that our public education system is progressing and an incentive to work even harder to reach that ultimate goal of 100 percent,” he said.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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