The Middlesboro Daily News reports the Bell County Public Schools dramatically reduced their high school dropout rate in the 2007-08 school year.
The problem here is that those dropout rates are notoriously inaccurate.
This 2006 official audit says so.
In fact, Bell County shows up in the audit as one of the most serious dropout under-reporters in Kentucky. Actual dropouts during the school term in the county were over 270 percent higher than what got reported to the Kentucky Department of Education.
Adding more fuel to my concerns, I ran the numbers for Bell County’s high school graduation rate using the “Freshman Graduation Rate” formula, which is one of the best performing approximation formulas in this federal study.
The graph shows how that turned out.
Data sources for the graph are the Kentucky Department of Education’s Excel spreadsheets for Transition to Adult Life (which shows the total of all diplomas and certificates of attendance awarded each year) and the Department’s Growth Factor/Ethnicity Reports for the appropriate years for each ninth grade enrollment for each graduating class.
I really hope Bell County is helping more kids, but the numbers I see certainly don’t show that.