Understanding New Mexico’s graduation rates

When discussing New Mexico’s graduation rates, we have always used “Diplomas Count”  from the Education Research Center. The latest report on national graduation rates was released earlier this month. Reports on the topic have noted that Diplomas Count and the State calculate graduation rates differently, but that New Mexico was at the very bottom in the latest report.

Obviously, this is not good news, but we wanted to put those findings into a bit of context. Using the Diplomas Count data, we looked back over more than a decade to see how graduation rates have evolved for New Mexico, its neighbors, and Florida (from whence Hanna Skandera came along with the “Florida Model” for education reform. Unfortunately (for New Mexico), as the data shows, not only is our state saddled with the worst graduation rate in the nation, our results did not improve much (at least relative to other states) between 1999 and 2010. The chart below illustrates the increase (or decrease) in graduation rates in the report.








This second chart illustrates the relative increase or decrease over the same time span:

Not surprisingly, Florida and Arizona have developed some of the most robust school choice programs in the entire nation.