Montgomery, Fairfax public schools lead nation in high school graduation rankings

Photo: Montgomery County Public Schools

For the third year in a row, the Montgomery County Public School system leads the nation with the highest high school graduation rate among the largest school districts, according to a report in Education Week.

In its annual Diplomas Count report, Education Week calculated the MCPS graduation rate at 85.7 percent—a 2.6 percentage point increase over last year’s report

Fairfax County was ranked second in the nation with a rate of 85.1 percent graduating. The third highest rate was in Wake County, N.C. at 78.2 percent. Baltimore County was ranked fourth at 77.8.

The national rate is 71.7 percent and the state of Maryland overall is at 76.8 percent.

“Urban districts, perhaps predictably, occupy the lowest spots on the rankings, often graduating no more than half their students and as few as one-third,” according to the report. “Montgomery County, Md., and Fairfax County, Va., respectively, rank first and second among the nation’s largest districts, with graduation rates topping 85 percent, more than 50 percentage points higher than Detroit, the lowest-ranked district.”

Superintendent of Schools Jerry D. Weast says MCPS sets the bar higher for its graduates, so the results are even more impressive.

“We not only are graduating the greatest percentage of students, but we are making sure they are prepared for college and the work place when they cross the stage to get their diploma,” Weast said.

Education Week calculates graduation rates for the nation, each state and the nation’s 50 largest school districts every year. This year’s data is for the graduating class of 2008, using the most recent available data.

To learn more about the report and its calculations, visit the .