Report: Nation's high school graduation rate increases, Ohio's graduation rate declines

Diplomas Count: Beyond High School, Before Baccalaureate, a report produced in conjunction with Education Week and Editorial Projects in Education (EPE) was released today. The intensive study measures high school graduation rates across the nation. The class of 2008 is the most recent graduating cohort to be profiled by the annual report.

According to the study, the nation’s high school graduation rate improved by 2.9 percent from 68.8 percent in 2007 to 71.7 percent in 2008, but Ohio’s graduation rate suffered a slight decline. A total of 74.3 percent of Ohio high school students from the class of 2008 graduated, down three tenths of a percent from the state’s previous year’s graduation rate of 74.6. Ohio’s high school graduation rate still outperforms the nation’s graduation rate of 71.7 percent.

Diplomas Count states that Ohio’s high school graduation rate has increased by seven percent over the past ten years. Ohio’s ten-year graduation rate increase was slightly higher than the nation’s increase of 6.1 percent over the same time period.

The report forecasts that more than 1.15 million students from the class of 2011 will fail to graduate. In 2010, Diplomas Count predicted that more than 1.29 million students would fail to graduate. This year’s projected non-graduate count is approximately 140,000 fewer than the 2010 edition of the EPE report which predicted that 1.29 million students from the class of 2010 would fail to graduate with their peers. Ohio’s share of projected non-graduates for this school year amounted to slightly more than three percent of the nation’s projected non-graduates.

Diplomas Count predicted that 39,336 Ohio students would fail to graduate with their peers, up slightly from 39,202 students the year before—an increase of less than one half of one percent. This number, divided by 180 days of school represents an average of slightly more than 218 students per day.—an average of 217 students per day, three percent of the nation’s total non-graduates.

To calculate the graduation rates, EPE used the Cumulative Promotion Index (CPI), multiplying the four grade to grade promotion rates (including those that actually graduated). This information was found in the Common Core Data maintained annually by the U.S. Department of Education.

Ohio does not use the CPI to calculate its graduation rate, relying instead on the Leaver Rate. This formula defines the state’s graduation rate as the percentage of students who leave high school with a diploma when compared to the number of other students who leave with alternative credentials or drop out.

According to the Leaver Rate, Ohio posted an 83.4 percent graduation rate for the class of 2008. When the CPI was used in Diplomas Count, Ohio’s graduation rate was found to be 74.3 percent.

Click for a larger version of this image. Data Sources: Ohio Department of Education, Diplomas Count

Regardless of which formula is used to calculate Ohio’s graduation rate, serious achievement gaps exist in Ohio that are exemplified by the class of 2008. According to Diplomas Count, White and Asian students graduated at a much higher rate (80 and 75.5 percent, respectively) when compared with Black (46.7 percent), Hispanic (43.2 percent) or American Indian (61.4 percent) students. Additionally, female students’ average graduation rate was seven percent higher than male students’ graduation rate. No data was included in the study for Special Education students with an Individualized Education Program (IEP).

Speak Out: Waiting for "Superman"

Phone Booth, February 2008 by Flickr user Maggie Osterberg.

The documentary film, Waiting for “Superman,” by producer Davis Guggenheim is scheduled to open in Columbus on Friday, Oct. 14. A film that evokes strong emotions, it tells the story of injustice in America’s education system. It says important things about the challenges of the public education system. However, the reductive messaging—“charters are good” and “teachers unions are bad”—oversimplifies complicated issues and threatens to thwart thoughtful discussions about improving public schools.

You will be tempted to get defensive about this film. But CEA welcomes and encourages filmgoers to join us in our mission of making great public schools for every student. Association members have always led the fight for great public schools, and we hope the movie inspires others to become engaged in a larger discussion about the shared responsibility for public education.

The CEA Blog wants to know:

What are your thoughts about  Waiting For “Superman”? Do you think this film will create a constructive or divisive dialogue about improving public education? Feel free to write a review if you have already seen the film!

Visitors to the CEA Blog do not need to be registered to leave a reply. Simply click on the “Comments” link directly below the post title. Type in a screen name of your choice, enter your email address and leave your comment. Please make sure your comment adheres to our posting guidelines. Once your comment has been moderated, it will be visible to all visitors to the CEA Blog.

NEA grant to CEA expands Peer Assistance and Review program

Peer Assistance and Review (PAR), one of CEA’s most successful programs, is now expanding. The program will now serve second-year teachers in the Briggs and Linden-McKinley feeder patterns. PAR II will be facilitated by a PAR Consulting Teacher and the building principal.

Support for PAR II is being provided by CEA’s $1.25 million grant from the NEA Foundation. One of CEAs goals is to strengthen teacher preparation and build a stronger web of collaborative support.

PAR will provide two full years of mentoring, assistance and review for these teachers. The extended PAR program will focus on:

* Professional self-reflection assessment
* Identifying four goals for the year
* Building and maintaining a professional portfolio to track progress and goal completion

PAR is a national model. For more than 20 years, the district and the Association have worked together to sponsor and mentor new teachers and those who find later that they need assistance. PAR ensures that there is a high quality teacher in every classroom.