Wake County has the third highest graduation rate among the nation's largest school districts, according to a report today in Education Week.
In its annual Diploma Counts report, Wake County's graduation rate of 78.2 percent for the Class of 2008 placed it ahead of most of the nation's 50 largest school districts. Only Montgomery County in Maryland at 85.7 percent and Fairfax County in Virginia at 85.1 percent came in higher than Wake.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, the only other North Carolina school system on the list, was ranked 30th with a 61.2 percent graduation rate.
Detroit Public Schools ranked last on the list with a graduation rate of 33.4 percent.
The publication found that most of the nation's 50 largest school districts were meeting expectations for graduation rates. But Education Week was unable to calculate what Wake's expected graduation rate should be for a district of its size and demographics.
For Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Education Week found the district to be below its expected graduation rate of 63.2 percent.
Statewide, the report found that North Carolina for the first time ranks above the national average in graduation rate. The state is at 72.8 percent compared to 71.7 percent nationally.
As noted in today's online article by Rob Christensen, Democratic leaders immediately said the report was an indication that North Carolina's education system was working, despite criticism from Republican lawmakers.