Graduating from high school is obviously important, but earning a diploma isn’t always an indicator of true educational attainment.

Indiana remains in step with national graduation averages, though the fact that Black and Hispanic students continue to graduate at a lower rate than white and Asian students is concerning. While the graduation rate might never reach 100%, the rate can be improved, especially for students of color and those in low-income households.

Still, learning is about more than graduation rates.

Last year’s National Assessment of Educational Progress showed how much students are falling behind. The bulk of our students are at a basic or worse level when it comes to math and reading. That should trouble all of us, as those students are our future workers and leaders.

Experts blame the pandemic. The subpar scores came on the heels of the federal government spending a record $123 billion on schools, including funds earmarked to help students recover from educational gaps created by COVID-19 shutdowns and remote learning.

The coming years will show how much of an effect the pandemic had on education, but we can’t wait that long to address the problem. Students are graduating from high school at a respectable rate, but what are they learning?

Giving every student a chance to earn a high school diploma is crucial.

Even more important, though, is making sure they leave high school with the knowledge they’ll need to achieve their goals in the workforce and in life.

— News and Tribune,