Graduation Rates Are Deceptive

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

And more reminiscent of The Wizard of Oz than the three Rs or even John Dewey. “In addition to the 937 students to whom D.C. officials improperly granted diplomas in 2017, a recent audit undertaken in neighboring Prince George’s County, Maryland, found that as many as a quarter of that district’s 2016 and 2017 high school graduates may not have met requirements,” Brandon L. Wright writes in an article distributed by the Thomas Fordham Institute. “A year earlier, five veteran educators in El Paso were indicted on federal charges in connection to, as an FBI agent said, ‘criminal conduct and brazen efforts to manipulate testing populations, graduation rates, and attendance figures’; three have since pleaded guilty to related charges and agreed to cooperate in the trials of the other two.”

“All of this is exacerbated by America’s lackluster achievement among students entering high school. Nationally, almost one-third of eighth graders are below the basic level of achievement in math on the National Assessment of Education Progress, as of 2016. And basic is a low bar; proficient is the one they’re supposed to clear. Seventy-three percent of students fall short of basic in Detroit; 60 percent in Cleveland; 59 percent in Baltimore; 49 percent in Atlanta and Washington, D.C.; 48 percent in Los Angeles; and 47 percent in Philadelphia. Similarly low rates exist for disadvantaged eighth graders nationwide: 42 percent of those eligible for free or reduced priced lunch are below basic in math, and that number is 52 percent and 40 percent for black and Hispanic students, respectively. The trends in reading are comparable.”