Graduation/Drop Out rates released for the 2011-12 school year in Oregon – and just like last year, the numbers don’t add up due to different evaluation methods
Warning: The story migrated into an editorial.
Here we go again. The state Department of Education has just released another report tabulating graduation as well as drop out rates for schools in Oregon. And just like last year, the numbers don’t add up due to conflicting methods of how noses are counted for graduation versus dropping out.
According to the report, Lincoln County Schools have a collective drop out rate of 4.3%. Individually the schools show Eddyville 0%, Waldport High .5%, Lincoln City Career Tech 1.6%, Newport High 1.9%, Toledo High 3.4%, Taft High 3.5% and Siletz Valley Charter 3.7%. Drop outs are described as students who did not attend any kind of state approved education program and who did not earn an alternative degree, like through an adult education or GED program.
Now for graduation rates.
State evaluators operate under the assumption that graduation rates are determined by following all 9th graders, as a distinct group of 14 year olds, moving through all four years of high school at the same rate – all in one clump. A 9th grade class that starts in 2013 is expected to graduate with caps and gowns in June of 2017. But many of them don’t; not because they don’t graduate, they just take more time. But the way the state tallies the graduation rates, every high school in Oregon would have to cope with a ballooning average daily population of tens of thousands, mostly from under-performing undergraduates milling around waiting for lunch because, on paper, they haven’t dropped out.
So with common sense thrown out the window, the state proceeds to claim that this is a tally of Lincoln County graduation rates: Taft High 48%, Lincoln City Career Tech 52%, Toledo High 58%, Waldport High 65%, Newport High 71%, Siletz Valley Charter 86% and Eddyville Charter 100%.
So what’s going on here?
In short, one group of state education tabulators track kids based on whether they ACTUALLY graduate from SOME state approved education program SOMEwhere. However, another group of state education tabulators don’t; preferring to use a method that groups specific students in specific time lines. It’s arbitrary to say the least. Or in this case, the right pencil doesn’t know what the left sheet of paper is doing. And everytime they crank out these kinds of press releases they mislead Oregonians as to the quality of job our schools are doing to prepare our kids for the rest of their lives.