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.