Indiana

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Dollars for Diplomas: State Pays For Grad Rate Increases

We’ve heard of ‘pay for grades.’ Now, Indiana pays for grads.

State superintendent Tony Bennett announced Wednesday the Indiana Department of Education would give cash awards to the twelve Indiana high schools that showed the greatest jump in their graduation rates (find which ones below the jump).

While four of the recipients posted 2010 graduation rates in the state’s top 100 (roughly the top 25 percent of all schools), six of the recipient schools’ graduation rates were among the state’s lowest 100.

Ten large schools received $20,000, while two smaller schools received $10,000. Who got the money? The recipients span the state and include two charter schools:

Schools receiving $20,000 each

  • Fall Creek Academy (Charter school)
  • Argos Community Jr-Sr High School, Argos Community Schools
  • Charles A. Tindley Accelerated School, Indianapolis (Charter school)
  • Austin High School, Scott County School District 1
  • Kankakee Valley High School, Kankakee Valley School Corp.
  • Caston Jr-Sr High School, Caston School Corp.
  • Rochester Community High School, Rochester Community School Corp.
  • Shakamak Jr-Sr High Sch, M.S.D. Shakamak Schools
  • Mississinewa High School, Mississinewa Community School Corp.
  • Seeger Memorial Jr-Sr High School, M.S.D. Warren County

Schools receiving $10,000 each

  • North White Jr-Sr High School, North White School Corp.
  • Medora Jr-Sr High School, Medora Community School Corp.

DOE documents say the awards, given through the Graduation Performance Incentive Program, was created in 2009 to instill “a sense of urgency” around the importance of graduation rates. The program was created in 2009 to award $220,000 annually to schools who showed the greatest increase in their graduation rates from the year before.

Bennett has set the goal of making sure 90 percent of Indiana public school students graduate from high school.  Currently, roughly 75 percent of Hoosier high school students earn their diploma — a number that’s nationally in the middle of the pack.

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