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'Raise D.C.' Report Offers Sobering Snapshot Of D.C. Students

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The report ties low reading proficiency in elementary schools to low employment rates amongst young adults.
Kavitha Cardoza
The report ties low reading proficiency in elementary schools to low employment rates amongst young adults.

As many as 60 percent of fourth graders in D.C. can't read at a proficient level. That was just one of the more sobering statistics in a report released today by Raise DC, a coalition of business leaders, nonprofits and other entities.

The survey measures four key areas, and some of the findings are stark, especially when considering the millions of dollars the District already spends on its public schools and children.

For instance, the report also pegs the four-year graduation rate for D.C. students at 61 percent — a factor that contributes to the low 41.6 percent full-time employment rate amongst young adults in the District.

"This Raise DC Baseline Report Card provides more proof of what we need to change and do better for the children in the District," said DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson, in a statement. "With Raise DC, we are using data in a smart way to inform our collaborative efforts, which is good for our students and for our city."

The report also establishes some goals for the schools, including raising the four-year graduation rate to 75 percent and increasing the full-time employment rate amongst young adults to 66 percent by 2017.

The group was empowered by D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray to create the report as a way to establish a baseline to determine areas where more work is needed. The numbers will be used in coming years to determine whether programs are affecting positive change for District youth.

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