Graduation or bust?
Much has been said about the specious nature of official high school graduation rates promulgated by states, districts, and the feds (see here for Jay Greene's February 2005 report on the subject). The message is beginning to take hold. This week, the Indianapolis Star is running a great 7-part series about Indiana's graduation rates that reveals that a mere 34 percent of Indianapolis Public School students graduate, as opposed to the "official" IPS figure of 90 percent. In California, Mike Piscal (of the Inner City Education Foundation and View Park Prep Charter Schools in California) lists some dismaying statistics for South Los Angeles on the new blog, The Huffington Post. He writes plaintively, "There are 3,950 students in the ninth grade at four major area high schools. . . . Only around 1,600 graduate. . . . Over 2,300 drop out. . . . How or why are our public schools in South Los Angeles so utterly broken?" The Rocky Mountain News puts a human face on Denver's woeful graduation rates in a series that looks at a specific group of eighth graders. Of these students, only one in three earned a diploma on time. More and more people are discovering that (as the Star editors put it), "Inflated graduation numbers have lulled the public into believing dropping out is rare. It's not. And thousands of young people are suffering the consequences."
"Missing in action," Indianapolis Star, May 15, 2005
"Dropout factories," Indianapolis Star, May 16, 2005
"Suburban epidemic," Indianapolis Star, May 17, 2005
"'Educational genocide,'" Indianapolis Star, May 18, 2005
"Early warning signs," Indianapolis Star, May 19, 2005
"A class divided," by Burt Hubbard, Rocky Mountain News, May 16, 2005
"I will name names," by Mike Piscal, The Huffington Post, May 12, 2005