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September 23, 2019
This company ran schools for dropouts across the country. Chicago is the latest district to cut ties.
Just a few years ago, EdisonLearning ran more than a dozen mostly online alternative schools targeted at former high school dropouts. Now just two are left.
September 17, 2019
Hidden dropouts: How Indiana schools can write off struggling students as home-schoolers
When students are recorded as leaving to home-school in Indiana, they’re left out of a school’s graduation calculations, as though they never attended at all.
getting to graduation
June 14, 2019
Once dropouts, these adults returned to high school. Now, they’re planning for college and careers.
Students from three Indianapolis Excel Center charter schools earned their diplomas Thursday evening, with many of them overcoming tremendous obstacles along the way.
Politics & Policy
May 19, 2015
National dropout expert: 'Cultural change' needed to improve graduation rates
The state's graduation rate is at an all-time high at 89.8 percent, according to the Indiana Department of Education.
November 13, 2013
State releases redesigned school report card
The state released a new school report card today that includes a college and career readiness section. The Tennessee Department of Education said they wanted…
June 29, 2012
In nick of time, city drops data on students who didn't graduate
Minutes after the close of business hours today — a summer Friday already packed with education news — the city released the first set of required reports about students who left middle school and high school last year without graduating. Some students leave their schools for good reasons, such as when their families leave the city. But others are dropping out. In 2011, an audit by the state comptroller found evidence that the city might have underreported its dropout rate by classifying many dropouts as “discharges,” the term for students who have provided good reasons for leaving school and evidence to support their explanations. The audit followed a 2009 report by a researcher and an advocate that suggested that the city was increasingly exploiting the reporting loophole to inflate the graduation rate. Alarmed by the reports, the City Council took up the cause and a year ago passed a local law requiring the Department of Education to report annually on how many students leave school and why. The first reports were due today.
June 29, 2011
Bills will hold DOE's feet to fire on discharge, graduation rates
The City Council is requiring the education department to provide more transparent reporting to support claims for two of its signature achievements: higher graduation rates and fewer failing schools. In the midst of finalizing next year's city budget, the council managed to pass two bills that target the Department of Education's bookkeeping. One of them requires the department to disclose more detailed information about students who leave the system without graduation. The second mandates the release of information about students who do not graduate when their high schools close. Under the first bill, the DOE will be forced to provide more detailed data about student discharge rates, which critics say is overused by schools in order to inflate graduation rates. In 2009, Leonie Haimson, of Class Size Matters, released a report that found discharge rates steadily climbed since 2000. That prompted a state audit that concluded the dropout rate was in fact higher than claims made by the DOE. Out of 88,612 students from the 2004-2008 cohort, 19 percent - or 17,025 - were discharged and 10 percent - or 9,323 - dropped out, according to the audit. "This bill will for the first time allow us to know what happened to the thousands of students every year who are discharged from high schools," Haimson said. "It will make it possible to see if they're honestly reporting discharge rates.
April 5, 2011
Schools call new discharge reporting requirements burdensome
An audit by the state comptroller found that the city might have underreported its dropout rate by reclassifying dropouts as "discharges," or students who have moved out of the district. But new procedures actually make it extremely burdensome for schools to classify students as discharged, school officials say. Until this year, high schools could classify a student as discharged to another state or city as long as the student provided proof of address that was confirmed by two people. That meant the student was removed from his original school's roster without hurting its graduation rate. But now the city requires city schools to prove that a school elsewhere requested transcripts of students they say are discharges, not dropouts. School administrators say this requirement presents a mountain of new paperwork for overworked personnel and, sometimes, real difficulty, as transfer students often encounter complications enrolling in new schools. Students might take a long time to find a school in their new home. They might have a hard time navigating an interstate paperwork shuffle. Their new school might not require a transcript. Or they might be kept out of out-of-state schools altogether because of their disciplinary records or language needs, according to Rhonda Hugel, assistant principal at Lower East Side Preparatory High School, which serves a large Chinese immigrant population. “Who knows if these states have the resources for the kids,” she said. The stakes are high. If schools don't get sufficient documentation from a student's new school within 20 days, he could be counted as a dropout, and the school's graduation rate could fall.
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