Thursday, December 18, 2008

Grad Rates About To Change – Thank Goodness!

The Kentucky Enquirer reports that Kentucky is finally about to get honest with its high school graduation rate reporting.

But, don’t credit the Kentucky Department of Education or the Kentucky Board of Education.

This is being forced on the state’s educators by changes I discussed before from the US Department of Education.

One stunning quote from the Enquirer’s article:

“’At a time when most middle-class jobs require more than just a high school education, many states seem willing to accept remarkably high dropout rates,’ said Anna Habash, author of an Education Trust report that says states set graduation standards too low.”

We’ve been saying the same for years. Why didn’t Kentucky’s educators do the right thing on their own -- a long time ago -- without having to have the feds drag them to the honesty table?


Southern Lady said...

If Kentucky's graduation rates are all ready low and this author Ms. Habash says states set graduation standards too low, then will the graduation rates not drop if the standards are raised. I mean if they are already dropping out or failing making it harder to graduate is not going to help anyone. Plus, if you raise the standards you will have to monitor the teachers to make sure they are trying to help the students achieve their goals.

Richard Innes said...

Southern Lady raises several issues.

First, the officially reported graduation rates are inflated, missing a significant number of kids who supposedly transfer to another school but never show up in any school’s graduation counts. Correcting this inflated reporting will definitely drop the reported figure, but that really won’t have any impact on the true graduation rate. It has always been lower than the state reports.

The second issue deals with whether the standards to get a diploma are properly set. With many kids who graduated from high school immediately winding up in remedial courses when they go on to college, it seems like the high school graduation standards are indeed set too low. Upgrading those standards to reflect what kids will really need for success after high school will indeed initially further lower the graduation rate. But, if this isn’t done, then we will just continue to mislead students and the public about the true level of education going on in our schools.

As Southern Lady implies, these are going to be a tough double-shot of medicine to swallow, but if we are going to heal the problems with dropouts and inadequate preparation of those who do graduate, that medical treatment is necessary.