Many factors affect city graduation rates

I am in no way condoning the low graduation rates in many of the city schools, but I would like to clarify one of the many reasons why those numbers are the way they are.

The educational system requires schools to be responsible for every child. In order to make it easy to understand, assume that 100 freshmen enter high school in September. The school is responsible for those 100 students throughout their high school years, tracking them until graduation. Let’s say that over the next few years, 25 of the original 100 leave said school – i.e., transfer, become incarcerated, move out of town, drop out. The school is responsible for locating where each student is and documenting that information. If they cannot find the student, that individual is still listed as a member of that incoming freshman class.

Therefore, if only 20 of the 25 can be found and documented, the school is responsible for 95 students’ records. If 70 out of the 80 graduate in four years, that computes to an 88 percent graduation rate. But the school is responsible for only 85 students. This translates to an 82 percent graduation rate. See how numbers can be deceiving?

Throw this rule into the mix of all the other issues involving the city schools and hopefully one will get a little clearer understanding as to why the numbers are so low.

Jeffrey Schapiro