Sunday, September 12, 2010

Department of Education audited by State Comptroller over student discharge rate

For the class of 2008, about 30 percent of District 10 students — which includes those in Riverdale and Kingsbridge — were reported as discharged, according to data from the DOE.

September 10, 2010
Department of Education audited over student discharge rate
Nikki Dowling
Riverdale Press,37581

The state Comptroller’s Office is auditing data from the Department of Education in an effort to determine if students who leave before graduation are being properly accounted for.

The data in question records the whereabouts of students who didn’t graduate from the city’s public school system in four years but did not officially drop out.

The years in question are 2007 and 2008, a spokeswoman for the Comptroller’s Office, Vanessa Lockel, said.

The DOE has two separate categories for students who don’t graduate from public high schools: dropouts and discharges. The discharge rate is what’s being audited.

Students can end up on the discharge list if they voluntarily drop out due to pregnancy; leave school when they reach 21; get kicked out for poor behavior; enroll in a GED program; transfer to a school outside the city; join a program for new mothers; are institutionalized; are placed in programs outside the DOE’s purview; or died.

For the class of 2008, about 30 percent of District 10 students — which includes those in Riverdale and Kingsbridge — were reported as discharged, according to data from the DOE.

The DOE has been criticized by experts who think dropout rates should include some students who are labeled as discharged, such as pregnant teens, new mothers and those enrolling in a GED program.

“Why shouldn't students who go into GED programs be counted as dropouts? They will never receive a high school diploma?” Leonie Haimson, executive director of Class Size Matters and co-author of a 2009 report on discharge rates, said in an e-mail.

From 2007 to 2008, about three-quarters of discharged students moved beyond the borders of New York City, according to data from the DOE. But experts claim the numbers could be inaccurate because it’s up to individual schools to report discharge data and since school administrators don’t the have the resources to keep track of all students, some may be labeled as transfers when they should be called dropouts.

“Up to this point we’ve been in a position where we’ve had to rely on schools themselves. In the schools’ defense, they really don’t have resources to track a kid down,” said Jennifer Jennings, assistant professor of sociology at New York University, who co-authored a report on the subject with Ms. Haimson. “Unfortunately, none of us know what the right number is.”

The Department of Education did not respond to questions about the audit before publication, despite being told about the story several hours prior.

A story exploring this subject more fully will be printed in The Riverdale Press next week.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is about time that responsible people with the ability to uncover the fraud that this administration has perpertrated on New York City public school students and their families start to uncover this and other data that has been manipulated to make Bloomberg and Klein look good. Graduation rates, credit recovery, administrations carting off students to GED and YABC programs, schools that offer programs inconsistent with state requirements. All gimmicks utilized by principals with the approval of Klein. Heck, I bet they teach a course about data manilpulation or how to lie with statistics in the Leadership Academy. Does anyone know what is taught at the Leadership Academy. Do they offer a brochure or list of course offerings? Great news go after the SOB's...