- Who has a better understanding of economics? Hmm…
- BP is offering to compensate folks in the gulf for lost wages, profits, etc… Of course there is some paper work involved in this process. But don’t worry, the White House is thinking about sending the National Guard to help fill out that paperwork. Cool. Wait…what!?
- The Lexington Herald-Leader has published a fantastic database of state employee salaries…Check this out!
- Want to make a difference? Lend your knowledge.
We submitted 35 open records requests yesterday as part of our 2010 Open Records Project! These requests were submitted to school districts across the state who have not made adequate yearly progress or have schools in them that have not made adequate yearly progress according to No Child Left Behind.
Stay tuned for more details on these requests…we hope to shed some light on under-performing education leaders!
Kentucky Department of Education agrees with us
Recent information from the Kentucky Department of Education supports my concerns that the recently reported high school graduation rate in Kentucky is much too high.
How much too high?
Maybe as much as 10 points.
If so, Kentucky’s true high school graduation rate in 2009 could be only around 74 percent, not the recently reported rate of 83.91 percent.
Where am I coming from with this?
Buried at the back of the department’s new Briefing Packet, Nonacademic Data for 1993-2009 is an appendix that discusses planned changes in the way Kentucky will report high school graduation rates.
The first change will be a switch from the department’s current, widely discredited formula. Officially, this inflated formula is titled the “Leaver Graduation Rate” by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). Kentucky’s results using this formula were officially audited by the Kentucky Auditor of Public Accounts in 2006 and definitely found to be seriously inflated.
Starting next year, Kentucky will finally use something better, an interim formula called the “Averaged Freshman Graduation Rate” (AFGR). The NCES carefully researched the AFGR formula in 2006. That research indicates the AFGR is the most accurate formula available to states like Kentucky that have lagged behind on getting high quality student tracking systems in place (Kentucky’s system, called “Infinite Campus,” won’t generate its first high-quality graduation rate data until the 2014 Nonacademic Data release).
Once we can use Infinite Campus data, we will switch again to the “Cohort Graduation Rate” formula. We will probably be one of the last states to finally get accurate graduation rate data due to the delays.
For unknown reasons, the department declined to provide sample AFGR calculations in its appendix, but the necessary data have been around for a number of years.
NCES has already done the work for us. In 2007, Table 105 in the NCES’ Digest of Education Statistics 2009 reports Kentucky’s statewide AFGR was 76.4.
In sharp contrast, Figure 5 in the new Nonacademic Data briefing packet claims Kentucky’s high school graduation rate in 2007 was nearly 7.5 points higher at 83.76 percent.
Anyway, we’ve talked about these sorts of numbers before.
But, here’s something new. At the very end of the Appendix in the new Nonacademic Data brief, the department admits,
“Note: Based on the information available from other states that have transitioned to the Cohort Graduation Rate, results of Kentucky’s cohort graduation rate (sic) can be expected to be slightly lower than the graduation rate with AFGR.”
Decoded, this means that once we get honest graduation rates from a high quality student tracking system, those rates will be even lower than the AFGR formula provides. We have pointed this out before, but it is nice that the department now agrees we were right.
It’s hard to say exactly how much lower the change to the Cohort Graduation Rate will lower our numbers, but based on some numbers from that 2006 research the NCES conducted, I’d say that 7.5 point gap I mentioned earlier will grow to nearly a 10 point gap between reality and the inflated high school graduation rates the Kentucky Department of Education has been releasing for the past decade. Instead of rates around 84 percent, we may wind up with rates much closer to 74 percent.
That would mean more than one in four Kentucky kids doesn’t make it to high school graduation, a figure that is simply far too high, especially after 20 years of expensive education reform that we were promised would solve this problem years ago.
- The latest EconTalk podcast features a discussion about prohibition in the early 20th century and it’s cultural and economic impact. An interesting discussion in light of the much debated war on drugs.
- If you aren’t following FreedomKentucky on Twitter…well then…well…you should be.
- Cato recently blogged an interesting article arguing that we need fewer public school jobs as opposed to more. Check this out!
Jim Waters, Bluegrass Institute’s director of policy and communications, guest hosts for Les Naiman this Sunday on “The Les Naiman Show” from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Louisville’s 970 WGTK, Intelligent Conservative Talk. Listen live here
The number to call in on the show is 502-571-CHAT.
I’ve been looking over the new Nonacademic Data Brief for 2010 that the Kentucky Department of Education released on June 1, 2010. There is a very unsatisfactory trend in the numbers. While they look bad for females, they look much worse for male students in this state.
The numbers I am referring to are the membership numbers by grade found on Page 7 of the Brief. They are used to compute dropout rates.
While the dropout rates are not reliable, the membership numbers agree well with some other reports from the department. Here is what those numbers look like as we follow the high school graduating class of 2009 from their seventh to twelfth grade years.
Now flash forward to 2009. There are only 21,231 males and 21.801 females left in the class.
Along the way we lost at least 5,200 male students and 3,112 females. Incredibly, the males sank from a surplus of over 1,500 students compared to the females in the seventh grade to where they were well under 500 students behind the females as graduation grew near.
The data in the table implies we lost 5,200 males plus 3,112 females, or 8,312 students total from this class before they graduated. The Nonacademic Data Brief would like us to believe we only lost 5,806 students, but no-one, including the state auditor, has believed the fiction of the department’s dropout numbers for many years.
Sadly, it gets even worse.
I am pretty sure that about 1,500 more students were added to the class when it entered ninth grade. Those students came from private schools in Kentucky that only run K to grade 8 programs. I don’t have a breakout by sex.
Anyway, add in those 1,500 students and it implies the real loss for the Class of 2009 is closer to 9,800 students.
And, boys are taking a much larger hit than girls in these very sad numbers.