Posts tagged "discharges"
June 29, 2012
Minutes after the close of business hours today — a summer Friday already packed with education news — the city released the first set of required reports about students who left middle school and high school last year without graduating.
Some students leave their schools for good reasons, such as when their families leave the city. But others are dropping out.
In 2011, an audit by the state comptroller found evidence that the city might have underreported its dropout rate by classifying many dropouts as “discharges,” the term for students who have provided good reasons for leaving school and evidence to support their explanations. The audit followed a 2009 report by a researcher and an advocate that suggested that the city was increasingly exploiting the reporting loophole to inflate the graduation rate.
Alarmed by the reports, the City Council took up the cause and a year ago passed a local law requiring the Department of Education to report annually on how many students leave school and why. The first reports were due today. (more…)
February 1, 2012
Of nearly 600 students who were enrolled in four high schools that closed their doors last year, less than half graduated and at least 22 percent left the school system without a diploma.
The information is contained in trove of data the Department of Education released today, in accordance with a recent City Council mandate, about the students who remained in 15 schools during their final year of operation last year. In addition to the four high schools, the city closed six middle schools, three elementary schools, and two primary schools last year. Together, those schools enrolled 1,994 students, ranging from just 54 at a Manhattan middle school to 358 at Canarsie High School in Brooklyn.
The council imposed the reporting requirement amid criticism that students affected by school closures drop out at a disproportionately higher rate as a result. At the high schools that closed last year, the dropout rate was indeed high, at 22.1 percent. A state audit last year put the city’s dropout rate at 10 percent.
But a high dropout rate could be expected — after all, the remaining students were those who had straggled at some of the lowest-performing schools in the city and had stayed there after other students had sought transfer to other schools. The students might well have dropped out even if their school stayed open.
More interesting, some say, are questions the data do not answer. (more…)
June 29, 2011
The City Council is requiring the education department to provide more transparent reporting to support claims for two of its signature achievements: higher graduation rates and fewer failing schools.
In the midst of finalizing next year’s city budget, the council managed to pass two bills that target the Department of Education’s bookkeeping. One of them requires the department to disclose more detailed information about students who leave the system without graduation. The second mandates the release of information about students who do not graduate when their high schools close.
Under the first bill, the DOE will be forced to provide more detailed data about student discharge rates, which critics say is overused by schools in order to inflate graduation rates. In 2009, Leonie Haimson, of Class Size Matters, released a report that found discharge rates steadily climbed since 2000. That prompted a state audit that concluded the dropout rate was in fact higher than claims made by the DOE.
Out of 88,612 students from the 2004-2008 cohort, 19 percent – or 17,025 – were discharged and 10 percent – or 9,323 – dropped out, according to the audit.
“This bill will for the first time allow us to know what happened to the thousands of students every year who are discharged from high schools,” Haimson said. “It will make it possible to see if they’re honestly reporting discharge rates. (more…)
April 5, 2011
An audit by the state comptroller found that the city might have underreported its dropout rate by reclassifying dropouts as “discharges,” or students who have moved out of the district. But new procedures actually make it extremely burdensome for schools to classify students as discharged, school officials say.
Until this year, high schools could classify a student as discharged to another state or city as long as the student provided proof of address that was confirmed by two people. That meant the student was removed from his original school’s roster without hurting its graduation rate.
But now the city requires city schools to prove that a school elsewhere requested transcripts of students they say are discharges, not dropouts. School administrators say this requirement presents a mountain of new paperwork for overworked personnel and, sometimes, real difficulty, as transfer students often encounter complications enrolling in new schools.
Students might take a long time to find a school in their new home. They might have a hard time navigating an interstate paperwork shuffle. Their new school might not require a transcript. Or they might be kept out of out-of-state schools altogether because of their disciplinary records or language needs, according to Rhonda Hugel, assistant principal at Lower East Side Preparatory High School, which serves a large Chinese immigrant population. “Who knows if these states have the resources for the kids,” she said.
The stakes are high. If schools don’t get sufficient documentation from a student’s new school within 20 days, he could be counted as a dropout, and the school’s graduation rate could fall. (more…)