Er, Remember those Improving Graduation Numbers?

2016 graduates of Arlington’s Washington-Lee High School. Photo credit: Washington Post

In 2016 the Washington Post wrote an article touting improving graduation rates in Washington, D.C.’s public high schools, right across the Potomac River from Virginia:

The number of students finishing high school on time in D.C. Public Schools reached an all-time high with the Class of 2016, inching the school system closer to meeting an ambitious graduation goal it set nearly five years ago. The District’s most recent graduating class saw 69 percent of seniors earn diplomas within four years, a five-point increase from the previous class.

Today, WTOP television reports this:

More than 1 in 3 students who graduated from D.C. public high schools last year had help from violations of system policy, a study commissioned by the school system found. The study, released Monday, found that 937 out of 2,758 graduates had excessive absences from school or from credit-recovery course, or they took those courses, which are supposed to be for students who have failed a class, “concurrently or in place of regular instruction. … At Ballou [High School], there was a culture of doing ‘whatever it takes’ to pass students so they could receive their diploma,” the report said.

In 2016 the Washington Post also reported this:

More than 90 percent of Virginia’s high school Class of 2016 graduated on time, the highest rate recorded since the state changed how it tracks high school graduations nearly a decade ago. The on-time graduation rate rose from 90.5 percent last year to 91.3 percent this year, continuing an upward trend since the state started keeping more accurate data in 2008, keeping closer tabs on transfer students and dropouts who were sometimes miscategorized in state data.

Does anyone think that Virginia might need to conduct its own study?

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2 responses to “Er, Remember those Improving Graduation Numbers?”

  1. Waive mandatory attendance rules and pass on a steep curve. If that doesn’t get you a graduate, teach to the test. And if that doesn’t work, manipulate the test results. And if that doesn’t work, fire the Principal. Now DC has tried all three. What’s left but issue the diploma to all entering kindergarteners?

  2. LarrytheG Avatar

    Well.. it’s bad no question – but it’s bad across the board even for the ones who supposedly have “real” diplomas as about a 1/3 of kids entering college need remedial work to be actually on college level.

    High schools in general in this country rank 25th against other industrialized nations..

    but your only real option is to work to reform and improve the schools and I’m not opposed to competition from other schools outside of public schools using tax dollars – but the same requirements for performance and accountability… you can call it “teaching to the test” yep… but the airline pilot who flies your plane, the doctor who treats you, the guys who maintain traffic signals.. they all have to take ‘the’ test… to assure they are actually adequately educated and skilled..

    We used to have unions in this country that assured an on-the-job training path.. they still do that in Europe… life is a process of learning…you never really quit.

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