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Connecticut's Graduation Rate Troubles Educators

A new study shows about one in five students don't graduate high school in four years.

 

Connecticut's graduation rate showed a slight improvement in 2010, but nearly 1 in 5 students still did not finish high school in four years, according to data released this week by the state’s Department of Education.

The graduation rates are worse for Hispanic, black, poor (those eligible for free or reduced-price lunches), special education and English language learner students, with about 1 in 3 unable to earn a standard diploma within four years. In contrast, the rates for white, Asian and students not eligible for free or reduced-price lunch were much better.

The table in the pdf above shows details of this data from the education department.

In , the graduation rate at the high school is 92 percent. In , the high school graduation rate is 87.8.

The graduation gap clearly indicates that state and local education officials need to do more to help poor and minority students succeed, said Stefan Pryor, Connecticut’s education commissioner.

“The statewide graduation rate gap in Connecticut subgroup populations mandates that we begin identifying exemplary schools that model preparation and success for students in our lower-performing communities,” Pryor said. “From the local level to the state level, we must redouble our efforts to graduate the next generation of leaders on time all of the time.”

To determine the 2010 four-year graduation rate, the Department analyzed individual data from 44,461 students. The analysis revealed that, 8,092 students, or 18.2 percent, failed to complete high school in four years. That is down from a preliminary rate of 20.7 percent in 2009, a difference of about 1,000 students.

This was the second year the rate has been calculated using a more accurate method prescribed under the No Child Left Behind/Elementary and Secondary Education Act four-year cohort graduation rate calculation rules. Before 2009, the Department had to estimate the rate from dropout data and self-reported aggregate graduate data. Now, by using student-level data from the state’s public school information system, the Department is able to track individual students longitudinally from the time they enter ninth-grade through to graduation. This method is more accurate for calculating the school, district and state graduation rates and provides a uniform system across the state.

The 18.2 percent of students who missed the four-year graduation target in 2010 includes 6.1 percent who are still enrolled and 0.4 percent who were “non-completers” and received a certificate of attendance. The remaining 11.7 percent did not graduate, were not still enrolled, or did not receive a certificate of attendance. It should also be noted that about one-fifth of all students with disabilities ages 18-21 remain enrolled in public education even though they have completed the requirements for a high school diploma within four years. These students continue their enrollment to maintain eligibility for transition services designed to help students move from high school into postsecondary activities.

"These numbers underscore the importance of creating the pathways and partnerships needed to make being ready for college possible for a greater number of our state's students," said Board of Regents of Higher Education President Robert Kennedy. "This won't happen overnight, but reviewing this data enables us to drill down and see where we need to do more to prepare our students for a college degree or a trade. I'm eager to work with Commissioner Pryor to make this a reality."

The four-year graduation rate varies widely across the state. Ten districts—Bolton, Cromwell, Guilford, Madison, Monroe, New Canaan, Ridgefield, Weston, and Regional School Districts 17 and 18—exceeded 95 percent in 2010. Six districts—Bridgeport, Hartford, New Britain, New Haven, New London and Norwich—had rates lower than 65 percent.

“We refuse to accept the notion that some students will not graduate from high school prepared for college and career.” Commissioner Pryor said. “The economic and social costs are too great.  We can and must do better.”

For details on four-year graduation rates by district and school, please visit these websites: http://www.csde.state.ct.us/public/cedar/GraduationRates/byDistrict.xls, http://www.csde.state.ct.us/public/cedar/GraduationRates/BySchool.xls.

roy January 01, 2012 at 06:07 PM
A 20% drop-out rate is about the national average. In some areas of the nation the drop-out rate exceeds 50%, and higher. There are a few very wealthy communities that have drop-out rates below 10%, some at 5%. The problem with the statistics is that any business which had a product drop-out rate of 20% would not be in business for a long period of time - one year maybe. There are some correlations between income and drop-out rates and between class size and drop-out rates. School officials, especially at the state level, offer a platitude of "We can and must do better." What usual happens after the platitudes are spoken - the class sizes are increased, financial support is reduced, all the silly planning receives political support from politicans, who have the most mind- numbing of all platitudes -- and then they blame the teachers. And, IF you are a parent of a child with a disability - especially autism - you understand that in the minds of "good" educatorional leaders, effective teaching is driven by the need to control, rather than by the child's ability to learn. While a 20% national drop-out rate is abohorable, the drop-out rate for children with disabilities is at, or over, 50%. What does a drop-out rate indicate? It indicates tremendous dis-satisfaction. Schools have wonderful whipping-posts. They can blame the parents and/or they can blame the teachers. But, they argue, the system is fine - except for parents, children, and teachers.
Pensadora January 01, 2012 at 06:08 PM
I am a CT educator and know that it is much easier to pass high school courses today than it was when I was growing up. Education is watered down, especially for minority and second language learners. Illiteracy is very common. Political indoctrination is more important to our state education boards nationally than math,science and other essentials. The bar is set so low now, so since the graduation rate is only one in five, I fear for the future of pour country.

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