“Good news” on dropouts merely data massage

massageWednesday’s press alert on a new truancy/dropout report, as well as recent CPS/City Hall PR hits, claimed a decline in student dropout rates.

I was pretty sure that this was more a function of data massage rather than better education policy, especially given the catastrophic rise in truancy detailed in the report. Turns out I was right. From the full press release:

“Change In Definition Of “Dropout”
ISBE changed its definition of “dropout” to only include students who dropped out of ninth through 12th grade rather than those in kindergarten through 12th grade.  The change in the grade levels considered in dropout rates would have resulted in a decrease in reported dropouts.”

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Julie Woestehoff is PURE's executive director. Julie's work has earned her a Ford Foundation award and recognition as one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in Chicago.