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Thompson: The Senior Graduation Rate

Grad Paul Tough in the New York Times recently made a huge point: that the graduation rate of seniors in high-poverty schools has dropped from 86% in 2000 to 68% in 2008, as the rate in low-poverty schools remained constant at 91%. This is crucial as data-driven systems like New York City and Washington D.C. have become so skilled in fabricating distorting graduation statistics, and Texas has perfected the art of hiding the low test scores of kids they just pass on. The senior graduation rate shows the percentage of students who played by their system’s rules but who could not make it across the finish line. It means that many more poor students did not learn enough in twelve years to make it over the hump. Or to put it another way, it shows the percentage of times that adults, despite tens of billions of increased expenditures, could not help these students across the finish line. -- John Thompson

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I wonder how much this change is due to the new consequences of state assessments. In many states, you can now pass all of your classes -- heck, you can make As in all of them -- but you will not graduate if you do not pass specific high-stakes tests.

(And I love your phrase about Texas perfecting the art of hiding children rather than being accountable for them....unfortunately, they are now in the business of pushing them out of school...to be "home schooled." The rise in non-legitimate "home schooling" needs to be studies. Any "home schooling" arrangement that is suggested by the school instead of the parent is extremely suspect.

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