The study by John Rogers, an education professor at UCLA, says the statewide graduation rate went from 73 percent during the five years before the exam kicked in as a requirement to 63 percent in 2006, the first year students had to pass the test to graduate.
Rogers' analysis shows even steeper drops in some school districts -- including Sacramento City Unified, where the graduation rate dropped 16 percentage points, and San Juan Unified, where it plunged 28 percentage points.
She had the fortitude to include this one sentence, though:
Rogers and the Public Advocates law firm, which distributed his report, are longtime critics of the exit exam.
Later, she adds this:
State education officials and exit exam critics agree on one thing: California's incomplete student data system makes it impossible for anyone to know exactly what the graduation rate is.
So the story is that California's graduation rate is "plunging", except the facts in the story reveal that no one--not even the "exit exam critics"--has a clue whether that's true or not.
The linked article comes from the major Sacramento newspaper, whose online version allows comments. Some of the comments reflect the common sense that this so-called education reporter seems to lack:
"It shows that if you don't study your lessons, you won't have the skills to pass the exam. You can blame whomever you want !"
"Yes, teach to the test
At least the kids learn to read, write, and calculate."
"gee you have to prove you learned something to earn the degree that says you learned something. Of course there is going to be a drop in graduates. The whole problem in the first place was students were slipping through the cracks, given a piece of paper that meant nothing. The dross needs to be skimed away before you can see the gold underneath."
And then there's my favorite:
1/2 our budget goes to schools
50% of our buget goes to the schools and they still can't teach our kids. What to do?
Let's see what the schools do.....
1) Dismantle the tool used to determine the effectiveness of the schools (the exam)
2) Skewer the test results, call it "racist" and sweep it all under the rug.
3) Claim you need MORE money to "help" the kids.
4) Have the Union spend millions in advertising to call the Governor "mean" to ensure the economic waste by the all-powerful school union continues.
5) Continue to spend 4 to 1 for Administration vs. the student
6) Write bylaws that state the Schools can only hire union contractors for jobs so you can grease the other unions at the taxpayers expense.
6) Claim you need even more money.
7) Blame the parents.
Is there any wonder why the Governor wanted to stop this mess? Our leadership needs to perform independent audits of every school district in the state to see where our money is actually going.
Oh wait, the union will never let that happen
These comments, and others, sum up my belief--what's the point of giving a kid a diploma if he/she can't do at most 10th grade English and 8th grade math?