Why is the Bush Foundation Against Federal Graduation Rankings?

They favor ranking everything else. From the Bush Foundation’s editorial producer, Mike Thomas:

The unfortunate consequence of No Child Left Behind is that some states dumbed down assessments to increase student passing rates.

Could a new federal formula used to rank high school graduation rates do the same for graduation requirements? Dumbing down graduation requirements, after all, would be the easiest way to raise a state’s ranking.

The U.S. Department of Education unveiled its new formula in November.

“By using this new measure, states will be more honest in holding schools accountable and ensuring that students succeed,” said Secretary Arne Duncan. “Ultimately, these data will help states target support to ensure more students graduate on time, college and career ready.”

But the new measure comes in the form of numbers without context because there is no calculation of what states require for a diploma. A student who may easily meet the requirements to graduate in one state may not in another.

All diplomas are not created equal.

This makes the federal rankings misleading because they are not an apples-to-apples comparison among states. People in the education business understand this, but the vast majority of people – including many in the media and in state legislatures — do not. And so while these rankings carry no federal sanctions, they most definitely have political ramifications.

Oh, my goodness. From a bunch of folks who tout school grades and just about every accountability measure using test data one could think of, this position is stunning. Perhaps graduation rates – especially in Florida – discredit the Florida model Thomas’ boss is selling to republican-led legislatures all over the country. So does Florida’s chilling rate – 55 percent – of college freshmen who need remediation in math, reading or writing when they arrive on campus.  Florida’s colleges have been welcoming the first kids of the FCAT generation since 2007 when the rates became evident.


About Bob Sikes

A long time ago and a planet far, far away I was an athletic trainer for the New York Mets. I was blessed to be part of the now legendary 1986 World Series Championship. My late father told me that I'd one day be thankful I had that degree in teaching from Florida State University. He was right and I became twice blesses to become a teacher in the late 1990's. After dabbling with writing about the Mets and then politics, I settled on education.
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2 Responses to Why is the Bush Foundation Against Federal Graduation Rankings?

  1. Diane Kepus says:

    Well as Education Week showed in their new report Florida with their being 6th in the country now still have a graduation rate of 70.4% and of that post-secondary participation is 54.4% and of that we us this blogger’s number of 55% needing remedial classes in reading and math.

    Keep in mind Patricia Levesque and FL Representative Weatherford at the 2010 CPAC break-out on Education were telling that room full of people how great Florida was in terms of education, that we were 4th in the country. During Q&A, they both came very close to telling me I was a liar when I used “their” FCAT scores to show what they were saying were out right lies. They then proceeded to do their push for School Choice.

    Does anyone know the percentage of Florida legislators and staff who send their children to regular public schools?

  2. Pingback: Why is the Bush Foundation Against Federal Graduation Rankings? | FPEP Blog

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