With the start of the school year less than a week away, it is a good time to step back and consider where we are, the progress we’ve made, and the work we have yet to do. We share a guiding principle that every child in Chicago, no matter their circumstances or where they live, deserves the opportunity to make the most of their life. Education is the key to making that happen. For too many years, however, the children of Chicago were not well served by those who were entrusted with these responsibilities.

We are committed to changing that history. Working with parents, teachers, principals and community leaders across Chicago, we are making steady progress — although there is much work left to do.

The latest evidence of that progress is a record high school graduation rate of 69.4 percent for the last school year, a 4 percent increase from just a year ago. It may not sound like much that seven out of 10 CPS students are graduating from high school — until you compare it to the 58.3 percent who were graduating just three years ago. Even more significant, research by the University of Chicago has projected that more than 80 percent of last year’s high school freshmen are on track to graduate.

Equally important is that more of our CPS graduates are going on to college and post-secondary education — a prerequisite for holding a good-paying job today. Last year, 57.2 percent of CPS graduates enrolled into college, which was an increase of 1.2 percent.

This recent good news about our rising graduation rate and college enrollment is built on other compelling statistics.

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