Wednesday, April 2, 2008

New National Graduation Rate study is released - How did we rate??

The Editorial Projects in Education Research foundation has released a 16 page comprehensive report on the Graduation Rates within the Nation's 50 largest cities. The report is significant because School Districts typically develop their own formulas for calculating their graduation rates. Because the formulas are determined locally and based on self-determined variables, they are generally of little comparative value. But this study used a simple and uniform formula to determine and compare the likelihood that a student who enters 9th grade in a given year, will graduate with their class on time - without dropping out or failing...

[click HERE for the full report]

The report lists the Wichita Graduation rate as 59.6% and shows a 21.2% gap between the Graduation rates of Urban and Suburban Wichita Schools. This is in stark contrast to the district's numbers. USD259 reported a graduation rate of 68.7% for the same period covered by the report and they say that the rate has since climbed to 76.4%.
We recognize that there are enumerable formulas that could be applied to determine graduation rates and that different formulas would almost certainly result in different numbers. But that being said, this report is invaluable because it provides a single consistent measure by which we can view our progress on this issue relative to other comparably sized districts. This report highlights the fact that we as parents, advocates, and concerned community members must maintain a healthy skepticism whenever any agency writes own report card. We must continue to constructively challenge the district to innovate and reach beyond previous paradigms as we seek to improve these numbers. When as many as 4 of every 10 of our youth are projected to drop out or fail before they reach the 12th grade, it's clear that we've all (schools, parents, and community) got a lot of work to do...

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