Saturday, February 4, 2017

Betsy DeVos' Graduation Rate Mistake : NPR Ed : NPR

Betsy DeVos' Graduation Rate Mistake : NPR Ed : NPR:

Betsy DeVos' Graduation Rate Mistake

The latest, remarkable misstep of a Cabinet nominee who has misstepped plenty came in answer to a simple question:
"Why do you think their performance is so poor?" asked Senator Patty Murray, D-Wa., in a written question to Betsy DeVos, President Trump's nominee to lead the Education Department.
"Their" refers to virtual schools, of which DeVos has been an outspoken champion. The "poor" refers to a large body of research — study after study after study — that raises serious questions about the quality and efficacy of schools that attempt to educate full-time students through the computer, without traditional access to teachers or classrooms. In response, DeVos wrote:
"High quality virtual charter schools provide valuable options to families, particularly those who live in rural areas where brick-and-mortar schools might not have the capacity to provide the range of courses or other educational experiences for students. Because of this, we must be careful not to brand an entire category of schools as failing students."
Then comes the misstep, first reported by Ben Herold of Education Week.

"The following virtual academies have four-year cohort graduation rates at or above 90 percent," DeVos wrote, listing some apparent success stories:
"Idaho Virtual Academy (IDV A): 90 percent
Nevada Virtual Academy (NVV A): 100 percent
Ohio Virtual Academy (OHV A): 92 percent
Oklahoma Virtual Charter Academy (OVCA): 91 percent
Texas Virtual Academy (TXVA): 96 percent
Utah Virtual Academy (UTV A): 96 percent
Wisconsin Virtual Academy (WIV A): 96 percent"
There's just one problem with these numbers, Herold points out.
They're wrong.
The Nevada Virtual Academy, for example. Its graduation rate for the class of 2015 wasn't 100 percent. It was 63 percent, according to Nevada's own school report card.
Ohio Virtual Academy's 92 percent graduation rate? Try 53 percent.
Utah Virtual Academy's 96 percent rate? Cut it in half.
You get the point.
Where did DeVos get these inflated numbers? Questions to the Trump administrationBetsy DeVos' Graduation Rate Mistake : NPR Ed : NPR: 

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