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Opinion: Why Surging High School Graduation Rates Might Be a Mirage

U.S. high school graduation rates are soaring. President Obama announced in October that the 2014-2015 rate was up to 83 percent in a fifth straight record-setting year. But sadly, as impressive as these numbers seem, there is no research indicating they reveal any learning gains in our high schools. Because of an accelerating use of a shortcut to graduation called credit recovery — used by 88 percent of school districts — most if not all of this much-publicized high school improvement might be an illusion.