Thursday, June 2, 2011

Drop in high school graduates’ follow-on success troubling

It’s not just the economy

Along with other non-academic data, the Kentucky Department of Education released new statistics yesterday on how the state’s high school class of 2010 did in entering follow-on pursuits such as getting a job or going on to college and the military.

I assembled the new data with older years of data from previous reports to generate the first graph.

Clearly, there has been a falloff recently in the success rates of Kentucky’s high school graduates (note: this data tells us nothing about what happened to students who dropped out of high school before graduation – a story undoubtedly much worse).

This falloff in graduate success is troubling.

Credible federal statistics on Kentucky’s high school graduation rates, which I have discussed before, are shown in the next graph. The federal figures, computed from the carefully researched Average Freshman Graduation Rate formula, are available through 2008.

I had hoped to see more up to date calculations of those rates extended to 2010 when the new non-academic report came out yesterday from our department of education, but as I discussed earlier, that didn’t happen.

Still, we can compare the data through 2008, and I see notable problems.

Not only did our high school graduation rate start declining after 2006, but it is clear those who did graduate started to experience less success in follow-on life pursuits, as well. And, the drop in that success rate started after 2005, well before the economic downturn.

While this data isn’t conclusive, it does raise disturbing possibilities.

• Is the quality of Kentucky’s high school graduates starting to fall?

• Could there be social promotion all the way to a diploma going on?

I’d like to know the answers to those questions. Wouldn’t you?

That is another reason why I am not happy that the Kentucky Department of Education decided to sit on the new graduation rate data for two more months. By that time, another school season will be under way, and it will be too late for education leaders to make changes if they are needed.

1 comment:

slol1 said...

Do Kentucky education leaders walk the talk?

NO, their 'walk' screams Kentucky education leaders commitment to Kentucky students is:

- If all else fails, we will lower our standards. All you have to do is show up and we will talk, talk,talk, talk!
- We adults will all get along at all cost even if it means you learn nothing!
- We will abdicate all management authority so we can be held accountable for nothing! After all this has worked well for over 20 years and is still in complete equilibrium between the legislature, teachers union, superintendents association, administrators association, Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, and ...
- We won't rock the boat and put kids first. We might risk our cushy jobs that pay us for accepting the unacceptable.

We get it loud and clear. Proud of yourselves?