Alabama Grad Rate Hits Record

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- Alabama's state school superintendent says the graduation rate for the Class of 2013 rose to a record 80 percent.

Superintendent Tommy Bice announced the figure Tuesday during budget hearings with Alabama legislators. Bice said the graduation rate has risen from 72 percent for the Class of 2011 to 75 percent for the Class of 2012 and now to 80 percent, which is the highest figure ever recorded in the state. The state school board has set a goal of getting the graduation rate to 90 percent by 2020.

To do that, Bice told legislators that Alabama needs more teachers in grades 6-8, where he said dropout problems develop. He is asking legislators for $32 million to hire an additional 450 teachers for the middle school grades.