The Education Trust has published their findings on graduation rates and the news for Tennessee isn't good. In their "Getting Honest About Grad Rates: How States Play the Numbers and Students Lose" they report on page three that Tennessee is one of 31 states that have said "that any improvement in the graduation rate is sufficient to meet the Adequate Yearly Progress provisions of No Child Left Behind. " They also report that the state says that we have a 76% graduation rate while the "Cumulative Promotion Index (CPI) created by Christopher Swanson of the Urban Institute" considers the graduation rate to be 18% lower at 58%.
Page 13 reports that there was absolutely no change in the graduation rate in the 2001-02 and 2002-03 school year.
Page 14 compares state reported rates v. CPI rates for African-American, Latino and Native-American students--62, 64 and 77% respectively.
And finally page 15 compares rates for Low-Income Students, Students with Disabilities, and Students with Limited English Prociciency. However, all the columns contain report this information was available for Tennessee.
The introduction to this report is absolutely correct:
"The states that are reporting inaccurate graduation-rate data are doing themselves a huge disservice. They're depriving educators, policymakers and advocates of crucial information necessary to create a sense of urgency for high school improvements. And they're leaving educators vulnerable to accusations of dishonesty."
I would add that while we have pushed hard in our medical arena for 'informed consent' we have nothing comparable in the education field and it may be just as important considering that when a system fails to educate a child the cycle of frustration that results can often end in violence and a ruined life.