A national think-tank took a look at how many high-schoolers graduate, and found Iowa’s graduation rate near the top. Greg Forster, a senior research associate at the Manhattan Institute, says the top ten states for graduation rates are almost all rural.Top states in the study were North Dakota, Utah, Iowa, South Dakota, West Virginia and Nebraska. He says you have to go down to seventh place, New Jersey, before you find a state associated with big cities. The top 10 states don’t face many of the social problem more urban states face, but he says poverty, single-parent families and other social factors don’t excuse schools from performing well. The Manhattan Institute maintains public schools don’t accurately report their graduation rates. Forster says the U.S. Education Department claims an 86-point-five-percent graduation rate for public schools nationwide, but his group thinks it’s 70-percent. Iowa, by the institute’s count, graduates 85-percent of its high schoolers, among the best in the nation. He says they “estimate” how many entered school in 9th grade and from that figure how many should have graduated.
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