Getting real on dropouts

EdWeek’s cool new database maps the graduation rate of districts across the country, showing that about 70 percent of high school students earn a diploma in four years.

Update: Alliance for Excellent Education has a report out on Understanding High School Graduation Rates.

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  1. wahoofive says:

    Isn’t it just as good if it takes five years?

  2. wahoofive says:

    By which I mean, they aren’t necessarily dropouts if it takes them more than four years to graduate.

  3. I agree with Wahoofive.

    Perhaps the generalized catagorie of “drop out” is not all that helpful.

    I want to know how many students finish HS in four and a half or five years.

    How many leave in order to work fulltime due to family economic pressure.

    How many leave in order to commit themselves fully to a criminal enterprise.

    How many leave school because they aren’t making progress toward a diploma.

    And so on.

  4. wahoofive says:

    Also, how many get a GED or go to college anyway (since you can get into some colleges without actually graduating from high school).

    Another point: there was a big push to cut the “dropout” rate some twenty years or so ago, and the main result was that schools got big incentives to have warm bodies filling the chairs, but no incentives to actually teach them anything. Any measure of raw graduation rates ignores the lack of reliable standards for graduation. The problem in our society isn’t the number of adults without a high school DIPLOMA, it’s the number without a high school EDUCATION.

  5. this approach captures those who take five years to graduate … they bump up the average for the class in which they do graduate.

    Now for the next step in California, you can look at the % of graduates who are college ready — having passed the distribution of courses needed for the state college system. (this doesn’t mean that they do go, just that they have the option to … nor sadly does it mean that they passed the required course with high enough grades to make a strong application nor a college-course-ready freshman — but it is a good start.)

    The fireworks begin when one takes budget and looks at funding per graduate, rather than funding per incoming student.

  6. The fireworks begin when one takes budget and looks at funding per graduate, rather than funding per incoming student.

    Now that’s a number that makes sense. After all, who cares how many kids march in the door? It’s the number that troupe out, hopefully, four years later that counts.

    For the Detroit Public Schools that graduation rate is 21.7%. Does that mean that 78.3% of all the money spent during those four years was wasted? It sure isn’t buying what the public school system ostensibly spends the money to produce – high school graduates.


  1. […] was playing around with this new online database that shows graduation rates (thanks, Joanne!) and the first thing I did was search for the local school district (State College School […]