Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Disappeared - Updated

Update: Check more links and read Tweed press chief David Cantor email to Leonie Haimson on the listserve.

How do you "lose" thousands of students? In the world of Tweedledee, if you want to get grad rates to appear to rise, put enough pressure on schools in what is known as "the accountability scam," students who might pull down grad rates tend to disappear.

Eduwonkette (Jennifer Jennings) returns to the fray with a study of the disappearing students between 9th and 12th grade released in a press conference on April 30. Leonie Haimson of Class Size Matters sponsored the study.

Jennifer Medina in the NY Times wrote about it. Here are a few excerpts:
The report raises questions about why more than 20 percent of students from the class of 2007 were discharged — the term for students who leave the school system without graduating — but 17.5 percent from the class of 2000 were. Much of the increase has come from students who are discharged in the ninth grade, which has gone up to 7.5 percent for the class of 2007, but was 3.8 percent in 2000.

David Cantor, a spokesman for the City Education Department, said that while the increases were noteworthy, they reflected the fact that the student population often moves in and out of the city.

The report also finds that far more black and Hispanic students are discharged than white and Asian students, and far more boys than girls.

Sure David. Boys, black and Hispanics seem to move out of the city more than Asians or whites or girls. Must be the water.

Jennifer Bell-Ellwanger, a senior adviser to the chancellor who oversees research, said department officials had noticed the increase in ninth-grade discharges and were trying to determine its cause.

Oh, Jennifer, life would be so simple if you just stop drinking the Kool-aid.

David Bellel taped the press conference. Here are the links.

More links:
ABC's Art McFarland's interviews with young students at the Door, originally aired on Channel 7 news, recounts how they were encouraged to leave by their high schools, as well as his summary of the discharge report, which found rising rates and numbers of these students since 2000.

David Cantor writes:

Alleging that the DOE manipulated the cohort in order to raise the graduation rate is a serious charge. Is that what you're saying?

The spike in the 2005 discharge rate of students with disabilities was caused by a data processing error. We mistakenly included non-public school students who used DOE special education services in that year's cohort (these students should have been--but weren't--designated as part of District 88, our registry code for students who don't attend public schools). Because these students were enrolled in private or parochial schools the following September, rather than in public schools, they were classified as discharges from public schools.

David Cantor
Press Secretary
In response to this post:
Leonie Haimson wrote:

Check out on our blog:

  • Interviews with discharged students
  • April 30 press conference on rising discharge rate...
  • Discharge rates still rising; especially for students in their first year of high school...

The above offers tantalizing evidence that the cohort figures may have had been manipulated for the class of 2005 – in ways that conveniently allowed it to appear that the graduation rate was rising.

Also, don’t forget Gary’s shocking discovery: The Case of the Missing Chancellor

Hey David, mistakes will be made. Lucky we have ARIS so mistakes like this can't occur again.


James said...

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Middle School Teaching

Andreas said...

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Knowledge Management