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Hold that thought for one second. Of course higher high school graduation rates are something every American can and should celebrate. What’s not to like? However, if we look a bit deeper and try to understand why this phenomenon is actually happening — this sort of “progress” is slightly more complicated (H/T Allahpundit):

The percentage of students at public high schools who graduate on time has reached its highest level in nearly 40 years, according to the most recent federal government estimates released Tuesday.

Based on data collected from the states for the Class of 2010, the National Center for Education Statistics estimated that 78 percent of students across the country earned a diploma within four years of starting high school. The graduation rate was last at that level in 1974, officials said. …

Mark Hugo Lopez, associate director of the Pew center, said the findings confirm trends his organization has been tracking. “We’ve seen a surge in the Hispanic high school completion rate,” he said.

He pointed to the nation’s soft economy as one reason more students are staying in school but added that there is probably a shift in demographics at play, too…