Big and important Ed Week opus on grad rates just out. Lots of interesting perspectives and analysis but the punchline everyone will focus on is here (pdf). Pretty grim. Stand-by for back and forth and efforts to debunk (always helpful for addressing social policy problems). The image at left (pdf) shows the intensity of the problem, red’s the most severe, dark blue the least. Though no method is plum because of the data today, I think this one give you reasonable estimates but I will say that the number for Detroit is so amazingly low — (21.7%) that’s not a drop-out rate that’s an on-time completion rate — as not to be believable. It would be hard to design a system to lose 4 out of 5 kids, they’re just more persistent than that. As School Me notes, the LA number (44.2%) may fuel the debate there. But, 14 of the 50 largest districts with on-time completion under 50 percent and none over 85 percent seems to indicate that there is a problem with dropouts, no? Important backstory, grad rate combatant Chris Swanson now runs the research show at Ed Week. Also, note the numbers for Florida. Despite their grumbling about how unfair NCLB is to them, it does seem like there is some problem with the schools there…especially if you’re a minority.
Update: The grad rate debate over at Edspresso continues and it’s time to switch to decaf…it’s getting nasty and personal.