We send our heartfelt congratulations to the high school graduates of the Class of 2017, and in keeping with our tradition of giving each year’s graduating class a nickname, we have decided that the adjective that best sums up this year for seniors is “politicized.”
We have assigned the label based on numerous reports from across the country of an uptick in political activism surrounding the election of President Donald Trump in November as well as an increase in fortitude shown by students who have stood up for friends being bullied or criticized because of their political beliefs.
Back in 2008, the National Center for Education Statistics predicted that there would be about 3.3 million graduates this spring, including about 10 percent from private schools, assuming an 8-percent increase overall since the 2004-05 school year. However, the US graduated 3,466,888 high school seniors in the Class of 2013, which we dubbed the “activist” class, the last year for which actual data are available, and the number has fallen a little, casting doubt on the NCES prediction from 2008, when there was a reliable increase every year.
The trend, now in a bit of a plateau, is expected to reach a high of 3,561,051 graduates in 2024-25 and then fall back to 3.3 million within about seven years after that. But while the number is expected to go down in coming years, following several decades of increases, high school graduates are projected to become less white, more Hispanic and Asian/Pacific Islander, and increasingly located in the South over the coming years, a report released in December from the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education says.
As part of our ongoing Verbo de Verbo project, which in Latin means “word for word,” we invite high school students who are speaking at their graduation to send us the text of their speeches so we can get an inside look at life in your school. Please get your principal’s permission before sending us your speech, but we always look forward to publishing your actual accounts of life in your classrooms and at your schools.