Friday, June 3, 2011

Lots of kids get left behind after graduation in Jefferson County

WAVE-3 TV reports that thousands of Jefferson County students are graduated from high school in 2010 and headed on to other life pursuits such as higher education or the workforce.

What WAVE-3 missed is the fact that new data from the Kentucky Department of Education shows that a chunk of last year’s Jefferson County graduates reported they didn’t head anywhere after high school – not to college, not to the military, not to tech school, not to the workforce.

And, we don’t know for sure what happened to additional thousands of Jefferson County students who simply dropped out before getting a high school diploma, but it’s a good bet most of them are in even more dire straights.

By the way, a KDE spreadsheet with the dropout statistics for 2010 says there were only 1,386 dropouts from the district’s Class of 2010.

But, we know from another KDE report that this class entered the ninth grade in Jefferson County in the 2006-07 school term with 8,589 students. Now, the KDE Excel spreadsheet with the Transition to Adult Life statistics shows a total of only 5,956 regular high school diplomas and certificates of attendance (for students with severe learning disabilities) were awarded in 2010 (Sorry, I don’t have a further breakdown because KDE broke precedent and is withholding detailed graduation data).

So, what happened to all of the 2,633 students who didn’t cross the graduation platform with their former classmates if only 1,386 of them are supposed to be dropouts? What happened to the other 1,247 students who just disappeared? Did body snatchers from Mars sneak into town???

The new Transition to Adult Life spreadsheet also shows the percentage of Jefferson County students that made successful transitions to adult pursuits by year, which is obviously dropping.

That is similar to the statewide decline in graduates’ success that I wrote about earlier.

So, more than 500 of the Jefferson County high school graduates in 2010 didn’t go anywhere after high school.

That is really sad.

It also adds to concerns that, just maybe, there could be a little social promotion going on in our schools.

Now, here’s something to think about. Out of the 8,589 students who started the ninth grade as part of Jefferson County’s high school class of 2010, only 5,956 crossed the graduation dais. And, about 500 of those graduates were not successful. Since we know high school dropouts are in trouble in the new economy, that leaves only around 5,456 success stories out of a starting group of 8,589 ninth graders – a real transition to adult life success rate of 64 percent. That’s all!

Great job, Jefferson County. Yeah, Right!

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