Education commissioner worried: New minimum dropout age of 18 may lead to districts playing games with homeschooling
Were similar games already played with Kentucky’s high school graduation rates?
There was a lot of “High Fiving” in Frankfort recently because the last school districts in Kentucky finally adopted a minimum high school dropout age of 18. It sounds positive. But, unfortunately, there is an obvious way for local schools to do an end run around the new policy. And, Kentucky Commissioner of Education Terry Holliday is obviously concerned.
The facts are that Schools can jimmy both their dropout statistics and their high school graduation rates simply by reporting that problem students transferred to home school. That gets rid of troublesome kids who are fed up with school and at the same time effectively removes those students from the state’s graduation rate and dropout rate calculations.
Apparently, Kentucky Commissioner of Education Terry Holliday is hearing enough rumors about this problem that during last week’s state board of education meeting he called for a new report to be created annually by his department to track students who shift from high school to home school.
This story could get interesting and could impact both public schools and legitimate home school students. There is no surprise that the Herald-Leader already picked it up.
I don’t generally favor the state interfering with homeschooling parents; but, this particular effort might be needed to insure we don’t experience widespread corruption of our dropout and graduation rate statistics. After things like the recent staff cheating events in Louisville’s prestigious Male High School, the disturbingly constant trickle of evidence of inappropriate teacher/student relations, and other educator misbehavior, I am not quite as ready as the commissioner to feel there is not much cause for worry about what goes on in our schools.
And, to reiterate, dropout stats are not the only problem. Under the new graduation rate formula, Kentucky’s high school graduation rates also get inflated when kids who are really high school dropouts get reported as transfers to home school, instead.