There’s no complete substitute for successful public education.

Good news isn’t always easy to come by for the School District of Beloit, so here’s one worth celebrating.

In 2019, 88.3% of students received their high school diplomas in the normal four years. That’s a significant improvement over the previous year’s figure of 84.7%.

It’s still below the state average—which is about 90%—but not by much. And with the trend line moving upward it’s not beyond the range of expectations for the district to meet or even exceed the state average.

Meanwhile, other regional districts also were performing well.

The four-year figure for Beloit Turner was 98% in 2019, up from 96.3% the previous year.

In Clinton, the four-year graduation rate of 97.8% is well above the Wisconsin average, and increased from 93.4% the prior year.

And for Parkview, the number is 97.2% of students graduating within four years, up slightly from 96.2% the year before.

All things considered, three area districts do better than peers around the state and Beloit, with a more challenged urban population base, for all practical purposes is right at the Wisconsin average. That’s good performance, at least on the graduation metric.

Despite all the news around Beloit and the state about voucher schools and charter schools, the vast majority of Wisconsin students and families continue to rely on the old-fashioned public education model.

Frustrating as conditions may seem at times, all is not lost. There are still lots of good people teaching in the classrooms, engaged parents in homes and committed communities working to provide sound educational experiences for our children.

Readers always should remember the historical relationship of universal public education in America to the nation’s economic and social progress. What was true then is still true now. Most kids are in the public school systems. Strong performance cannot be a wish and a hope. There’s too much riding on the outcomes.