Drop-out factories

California’s high school graduation rate is only 71 percent, says a report by Harvard’s Civil Rights Project.

Across the state in 2002, the report says, 57 percent of African American students and 60 percent of Latino students graduated on time, compared with 78 percent of white students and 84 percent of Asian students.

Official drop-out rates are notoriously unreliable, but, in a year, California will start tracking individual students, producing much more accurate data.

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  1. Walter E. Wallis says:

    How much will the Division of Dropout Monitoring cost? $135,000/yr just for the director, I suppose.

  2. the basic computation one can do on the existing state datebase: http://data1.cde.ca.gov/dataquest/ by comparing 9th grade enrollment with graduation four years later.

    it is less accurate the more granular one goes in into site and race, owing to transfers and all. One source of error (students being held back) is lowered by looking over a time series, although another can be injected if a student is counted twice when they are a repeat freshman

    It can also overstate graduation rates due to transfers INTO the system: moves across state lines and from private schools to public schools

    Haven’t figured out yet whether it also bundles in the GED scores which would be a further overstatement.

    It is also valuable for the next step which is college readiness, since one of the options is how many of the graduates have met the CSU entrance requirements. Look for the future measurement move from $/student to $/graduate and $/college-ready graduate.

  3. If those stats are even close to being correct, how can parents, businesspeople, etc. not revolt?

    Would they accept a system where 29% of a product, or a pharmacuetical product failed?

    Tracking correct numbers is important, but having the will to act on them is more so.

    Why aren’t vouchers a civil rights issue?

  4. …in a year, California will start tracking individual students, producing much more accurate data.

    They might need a year to push out all the likely dropouts before monitoring begins.

  5. A Red Mind in a Blue State wrote:

    Why aren’t vouchers a civil rights issue?

    Apathy, inertia, wishful thinking, insufficient imagination, the desire to believe in authority, the desire to avoid the thought of what the system may be doing to your child, potent political enemies.

    How’s that for some reasons?

    On the other hand, the revolution started in 1991 – the year Minnesota passed the first charter school law – and seems to be displaying a kudzu-like tenacity and invasiveness.

  6. Oh yeah, all the heated rhetoric to the contrary not withstanding, education isn’t a right, civil or otherwise.

  7. nailsagainsttheboard says:

    Here’s a ‘radical’ idea: not all students will graduate, nor should they. Not everyone can or should go to college. Vocational ed. should be as comprehensive as college prep…there is an obvious snobbery that somehow becoming a doctor, lawyer or scientist is nobler or more prestigious than a plumber, mechanic or welder. I recommend reading Diane Ravitch’s latest article on this subject. Actually–read everything by Diane Ravitch, one of the few eduwonks who are clear thinking.

  8. Steve LaBonne says:

    I couldn’t agree more with “nails”. The withering away of quality vo-ed programs harms both non-academically-inclined kids- who are left with nothing, neither the ability to master a serious college curriculum nor marketable skills- and academically-inclined kids, who suffer from academic programs that have been watered down to avoid dealing with the the consequences of shoehorning all kids into them whether it’s the right path for them or not.

    Think of it this way. GM is about to shed a boatload of middle-manager jobs- and a lot of those people will end up flipping burgers because that’s about all they’re good for. But GM could go under completely, and we’d still have a strong demand for competent techs to fix our Toyotas and Hyundais.