Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Nevada's Graduation The Lowest, But....

From the Las Vegas Sun: Nevada has the lowest high school graduation rate of any state in the nation, according to data released Tuesday by the U.S. Education Department.
The federal government released the four-year graduation rates for 47 states, Washington, D.C., and the Bureau of Indian Education for the 2010-11 school year. Three states — Idaho, Kentucky and Oklahoma — and Puerto Rico were not included.
Nevada posted a 62 percent graduation rate during the 2010-11 school year. The Silver State’s graduation rate was the lowest of any state but slightly better than Washington, D.C., (59 percent) and students on Native American reservations (61 percent).
The federal data also illuminates striking achievement gaps among Nevada students of different backgrounds.
White and Asian students had higher graduation rates than black and Hispanic students, sometimes by a margin of 30 percentage points....
Iowa had the best graduation rate (88 percent), followed by Vermont and Wisconsin (87 percent), then Indiana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Tennessee and Texas (86 percent).
Joining Nevada at the bottom of the rankings were Alaska and Oregon (68 percent), Georgia (67 percent) and New Mexico (63 percent).
For the first time, the survey used a common method of calculating graduation rates. Previously, states used different methods to determine graduation rates, which made it difficult to make accurate state-by-state comparisons.
The federal government now requires that states use the “cohort” graduation rate calculation, which tracks how many first-time 9th graders finish high school in four years with a standard diploma.   http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2012/nov/27/nevadas-high-school-graduation-rate-lowest-nation/
But sometimes, numbers do lie.
In Nevada, most special education students are counted non-graduates, just like someone who dropped out of school.  Nevada has 2 types of a diplomas, a regular diploma or an adjusted diploma (or Type 2 diploma).
Most of the special students in Clark County and the State of Nevada receive the Type 2 diploma because they are not able to pass the state proficiency exams.  When calculating the graduation rate these special education students count as not graduating.  This automatically drops the graduation by at least 25%.
This also goes for students who are non-english speaking students- their graduation rate is pathetic, especially since the proficiency exams are written in English and these students cannot read, write or speak English.
When you compare these numbers against states that don't have proficiency exams like Nevada, it's not a fair comparison.
So, while the graduation in Nevada is bad, it's not as bad as the number say it is.  We could do more as a school district, but also families need to get involved as well.  at our school, we have about 2100 students and we had a parent meeting a couple weeks ago and only 7 parents showed up for the meeting.  And this is actually an improvement, since last year we could only get 5 parents to show up for the meetings.
But the bottom line is that the numbers do distort the truth at times and this is one of those times.

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