This is the Choice Media Ed Reform Minute for Wednesday, August 22nd. I'm Bob Bowdon.
Turns out there are different ways to calculate high school graduation rates.
In the past, districts could often count kids who didn't show up for the new school year as transfers, not dropouts. Districts also used to count kids who take 5, 6 or even 7 years to finish high school. This allowed for a certain amount of data manipulation by the districts.
A new method, called the cohort rate, is a four year high school graduation rate. It also happens to be the figure highly correlated with success later on.
Now with this as preamble, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution used open records requests to crunch the raw numbers on Georgia's class of 2011. What did they find? That Georgia's four-year high school graduation rate was only 67.4%. And number of dropouts were double what had been previously reported.
One-third of all Georgia kids are not finishing high school in four years.
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