DETROIT (WWJ) – The high school graduation rates in the city of Detroit are on the up and up.

That’s according Detroit Public Schools Spokesman Steve Wasko who said they’ve climbed to 62 percent — the highest rate since the state began their new calculation of graduation and drop out rates in 2007.  

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Dropouts declined from a high of nearly 30 percent im 2007 to 19 percent last year.

Wasko said the new numbers showcase an increase in one particular group.

“We’re very pleased that the dropout rates for black males and females also fell over the last two-year period.  For black males, it fell from 33 to 23 percent… nearly 10 percent. And, for black females, from 20 to 14 percent,” he said.

Wasko said there is always room for improvement and that they hope to continue working to keep the proficiency rates high.

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“There is ongoing debate about strengthening the standards on the MEAP test, and that’s something that we’ve stated…publically that we very much welcome,” he said.

Wasko said they have are working, also, to test students on a national proficiency test that measures strengths of Detroit youth against those in other cities across the U.S.

John Sheffield is a grandfather of a 1st grader at one Detroit Public School.  He says he takes encouragement from the new figures.

“I think it gives us a better outlook, as for as what they’re gonna receive in the schools and that the schools are making it so they’re more likely to graduate,” Sheffield said.

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DPS officials say they’re working toward a goal, hoping to achieve a 98 percent graduation rate by 2015.  They credit aggressive academic improvements and school leadership restructuring for the improvement so far.