Monday, June 26, 2017

New Orleans school graduation rate slides nearly 6 points in five years; officials eye solutions as progress plateaus | Education | theadvocate.com

New Orleans school graduation rate slides nearly 6 points in five years; officials eye solutions as progress plateaus | Education | theadvocate.com:

New Orleans school graduation rate slides nearly 6 points in five years; officials eye solutions as progress plateaus


In recent years, the officials in charge of public education in New Orleans have been able to claim steady progress, if not outright victory. Their position has been that the public school system, if not fixed, at least is improving.
But that makes the latest news on high school graduation rates all the more worrying. The citywide graduation rate actually declined a few points this year, and it’s been hovering below a previous high-water mark for half a decade.
At 72 percent, the proportion of New Orleans high school students who manage to graduate on time is well below the national average, lags the state average and is considered unacceptable by top education leaders. 
It also raises big questions about the city’s experiment with independent charter schools, which have largely taken over public education in Orleans Parish since Hurricane Katrina.
The graduation rate is still 18 percentage points higher than in the year before the 2005 storm, but schools now face the possibility that they’ve hit a plateau and need to rethink how to keep making progress.
“You do the easier things, the low-hanging fruit, and then it becomes harder to get grad rates up,” said Doug Harris, director of the Education Research Alliance for New Orleans, a nonprofit that examines how education reforms have affected the city.

In a recent interview, the city’s two schools superintendents avoided talk of a decline, saying that year-to-year results are mercurial. Recovery School District Superintendent Kunjan Narechania did, however, acknowledge a lull, and Orleans Parish School Board Superintendent Henderson Lewis Jr. rattled off a list of potential solutions.
Graduation rates, one of several measures of the health of a school system, are released annually by the state. They measure the proportion of students in a class who graduate within four years, and they comprise 25 percent of a high school’s all-important performance score.
The narrative told repeatedly in recent years by education reformers contrasts the 54 percent of New New Orleans school graduation rate slides nearly 6 points in five years; officials eye solutions as progress plateaus | Education | theadvocate.com:

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