Chicago’s high school graduation rate was apparently calculated using “new math”

posted at 10:41 am on June 10, 2015 by Jazz Shaw

Have you heard the good news? (No.. not that Good News.) The high school graduation rate in Chicago has finally started going back up as of the last full year of available records. (2012-2013) It jumped up from 61% to 63%, which still isn’t really close to the national rate of 81%, but hey… at least it’s improving, right?

According to an investigation done by NPR (of all places) the news might not be quite as sunny and cheerful as the headlines would indicate. Graduating more students isn’t really a positive accomplishment if the graduates in question are making it out the door on a technicality and are not prepared for either college or a job. And in Chicago, that seems to be the case far too often.

First of all, the “percentage who graduate” isn’t accurate if you mislabel a lot of the dropouts.

Basically, we found that many high schools in the city were mislabeling students when they left. They were saying they were moving out of town or going to private schools when, in reality, they were enrolling at the district’s alternative schools or, in some cases, GED programs…

Well, it’s making it look better than it really is because mislabeling those students makes them disappear from the denominator.

But even the ones who stick around and graduate were frequently getting credit for work which was dubious to say the least. Many students achieved the required minimums through “credit recovery.” This process allowed students who failed required courses to “retake” the class at home and/or online with limited teacher supervision and far fewer questions to answer.

Plenty of cities are apparently using similar tactics to Chicago. Camden, New Jersey has an interesting optional program for kids who fail their finals. They get to try again with a substantially easier course.

In New Jersey, if you fail the first-round high school exit exam, there’s a second exam you can take — an easier one. It’s untimed, and it consists of just one single question per subject. In Camden, half the senior class failed not just the first test but the second one too…

[I]n New Jersey as in many states with grad exams, there’s a Plan B. There’s an appeals process. And students can submit samples of work they did in class to the state. It can be a single, graded algebra problem or a persuasive essay with a teacher’s comments on it.

That “plan B” was apparently used by nearly 1,500 students in New Jersey alone. Good work if you can get it, as the saying goes, but are these students in any way ready to succeed in either academia or the work force? It doesn’t sound it.

Illinois Policy says that even that story doesn’t tell the whole tale when it comes to Chicago.

Unfortunately, these requirements are not rigorous. In fact, students can fail one of four core classes (English, mathematics, science and social sciences) each year and still advance to the next grade level. They also only have to garner just a D in each class they take to earn the 24 credit hours they need to graduate.

It’s important to remember what a graduation rate doesn’t tell us – namely, how prepared the graduating students are for college. On that front, CPS and the CTU are failing miserably.

According to a recent report, 45 percent of CPS graduates begin their senior year not doing well enough academically to attend a four-year college. In the fall after graduation, the most common outcome for these students was to be neither working nor in school.

NPR also showed the opposite side of the coin when they explored the state with the highest graduation rate in the country. Care to take a guess?

It’s Iowa, at 90%. They talk about a number of programs which Iowa has used to keep kids in the classrooms, including free day care, food banks, smaller classes and flexible hours. Those all sound great, and if the districts can manage the funding there’s plenty to like about them. But at the same time, nothing is ever going to replace a solid home life and parents who will actually force those kids out of bed in the morning, make sure they make it to school, check on their progress regularly, help them with their lessons and discipline them when needed. Is there simply more of that in Iowa?

That would be nearly impossible metric to quantify, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised. Government can provide education as a form of supplied services, but they can’t force it on anyone. That happens from the bottom up. And for too many kids in Chicago and many other large cities, that’s clearly not happening. The sad result is that a lot of those children will never really stand a chance later in life.


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Comments

Two plus Two feels like a diploma.

platypus on June 10, 2015 at 10:43 AM

I’ve really come to loathe Millennials and especially those closer to my age (20’s) over the years. They’re lazy, entitled, constantly distracted by BS like social media and other pop culture garbage, and when it comes time to show what they can do, they start playing the victim while claiming how “hard” life is for them. Azzholes.

Chicago’s high school graduation rate was apparently calculated using “new math”

Common Core approved.

Aizen on June 10, 2015 at 10:46 AM

So, like everything else in the 21st Century, just lower the standards and pass more people. Skynet is not coming fast enough.

Oil Can on June 10, 2015 at 10:47 AM

Data manipulation are the only thing dems are good at. Fake BS is their M.O.

Privatize It on June 10, 2015 at 10:47 AM

I’m confused. Is this using the OLD “new” math, or that incomprehensible brand new common core math?

ConstantineXI on June 10, 2015 at 10:48 AM

Democrats lying again….

albill on June 10, 2015 at 10:48 AM

Majority of ‘mericans now oppose obama’care’.

But, new math.

Unemployment, new math.

Mooch’s schtruggle, new math.

The entire era of obama is new math.

If you don’t like it you are a racis.

Schadenfreude on June 10, 2015 at 10:50 AM

At least we now know why Common Core was really created.

COAS on June 10, 2015 at 10:52 AM

We have “free day care” as a significant support factor for high-schoolers and no one bats an eye.

bobs1196 on June 10, 2015 at 10:54 AM

school should be completely voluntary…..that way those who want to learn and advance toward a career can do so unobstructed and undistracted and those who want to lead brave new lifestyles of gangbanging, drugs, and welfare can do so without being hassled by truancy complaints. I see no reason for encouraging people who have no aptitude and no desire to attend school at any age.

clandestine on June 10, 2015 at 10:55 AM

I wanna see those graduation rates stratified by race/ethnicity. The numbers, when published, will pose some very uncomfortable questions we haven’t been asking since MLK’s days.

Rix on June 10, 2015 at 10:56 AM

All thanks to LBJ’s Great Society.

rbj on June 10, 2015 at 10:56 AM

All thanks to LBJ’s Great Society.

rbj on June 10, 2015 at 10:56 AM

They’ve been voting Democratic for 50 years now. 150 years left to go.

Er, at the rate of decline we are at I doubt we last 150 more years…

ConstantineXI on June 10, 2015 at 11:00 AM

reality check: if a “child” is able to have a child, they’re not really a child. Legally, yes, but not actually. Treating them like children isn’t going to help be better people. Treat them like adults, with all the expectations we have of adults.

RockinRickOwen on June 10, 2015 at 11:04 AM

This process allowed students who failed required courses to “retake” the class at home and/or online with limited teacher supervision and far fewer questions to answer.

Social promotion through fakery, lies and deceit.

And they wonder why they can’t get a job.

dogsoldier on June 10, 2015 at 11:07 AM

Chicago, nuf said.

bernzright777 on June 10, 2015 at 11:11 AM

CHICAGO (WLS) –Chicago Public Schools, the third-largest school district in the nation, faces a deficit of more than one billion dollars leaving many to wonder how a big pension bill will be paid at the end of June.

Within a few days of the end of the spring semester next week, decades of CPS fiscal problems will come to a head. The school district, which has no reserve fund, faces a projected $1.1 billion deficit, including a $634 million pension payment due by June 30. And CPS is desperate for new revenue.

“This knee jerk reaction to always say ‘let’s just raise taxes,” said Republican State Rep Ron Sandak, of Downers Grove. “That’s where a bankruptcy can actually be helpful.”

J_Crater on June 10, 2015 at 11:12 AM

Two plus Two feels like a diploma.

platypus on June 10, 2015 at 10:43 AM

This is how ‘feelings’ let you down numerical subjects.

Two plus two is, of course, a quadroploma. For a mere diploma you only needed one plus one.

YiZhangZhe on June 10, 2015 at 11:15 AM

But at the same time, nothing is ever going to replace a solid home life and parents who will actually force those kids out of bed in the morning, make sure they make it to school, check on their progress regularly, help them with their lessons and discipline them when needed.

Or just the kids themselves giving a damn about their own success.

GWB on June 10, 2015 at 11:17 AM

School Admins trying to use the Bill Gates common core method. FAIL!

jake49 on June 10, 2015 at 11:18 AM

I wanna see those graduation rates stratified by race/ethnicity. The numbers, when published, will pose some very uncomfortable questions we haven’t been asking since MLK’s days.

“Yeah, but yo’ dog, racism, noam’ sayin’?”

Somehow, I blame Bush and white privilege. With just a touch of global warming, for flavor.

orangemtl on June 10, 2015 at 11:21 AM

Obama Math…..

just 10 million is a super majority…..

and 9 people in black robes are gods…

carry on…

Electrongod on June 10, 2015 at 11:22 AM

Treat them like adults, with all the expectations we have of adults.

RockinRickOwen on June 10, 2015 at 11:04 AM

These days, what does that even mean?

Perhaps a higher standard still is required. Maybe we should treat them like responsible adults.

On the other hand, my kids will have a lot less competition for the decent jobs. Assuming those continue to exist, I mean.

runawayyyy on June 10, 2015 at 11:24 AM

My first job out of college was in Iowa. The schools had a partnership with the tech companies, big and small, to offer free tutoring help to struggling students. I signed up immediately. All of my students went on to the next grade, or graduated on time in spite of their previous struggles.

When I moved back out of the state and tried to find a similar program in my new home, it became clear no one was interested due to the rather large tutoring industry that had grown up here. Don’t get me wrong, if someone can make money doing that I’m all for it. But what about the kids who can’t afford a paid tutor? The schools had zero interest in free tutoring. I wonder why….

runawayyyy on June 10, 2015 at 11:28 AM

Some public school teachers in the Atlanta recently went to jail for cooking the books. I think that what was exposed in Atlanta is only the tip of a huge iceberg.

SC.Charlie on June 10, 2015 at 11:29 AM

Hey! We shouldn’t get wrapped up in concepts forced on us by the man. Just as long as those kids leave high school and go out and become productive members of society, who cares? /

Happy Nomad on June 10, 2015 at 11:33 AM

Iowa is a red state. Illinois is a blue state. ’nuff said. No more evidence is needed to show the Democrats utter lack of interest in outcomes. It’s all about the money flowing to the teacher’s unions. Student performance be damned.

conservablogger on June 10, 2015 at 11:33 AM

They talk about a number of programs which Iowa has used to keep kids in the classrooms, including free day care, food banks, smaller classes and flexible hours.

We have “free day care” as a significant support factor for high-schoolers and no one bats an eye.

bobs1196 on June 10, 2015 at 10:54 AM

That was my “WTF” takeaway as well. What do foodbanks have to do with school as well? I can see smaller classes and flexible hours as positives. Although with the flexible hours, if you can’t learn in a structured setting, is your employer going to be so accommodating? Doubtful.

Mitoch55 on June 10, 2015 at 11:43 AM

Chicago’s high school graduation rate was apparently calculated using “new math”

Well of course it was.

Remember, math is the domain of old white men.

That’s why math needs to be politicized with social justice malarkey.

Star Bird on June 10, 2015 at 11:55 AM

So George Bush lied. People got diplomas?

onomo on June 10, 2015 at 12:08 PM

Blacks as a percentage of Iowa population: 3.3%
Blacks as a percentage of CPS enrollment: 39.3%

QED.

Hucklebuck on June 10, 2015 at 12:10 PM

Most of the problem is that certain demographics don’t care how well they do in school (both the kids and parents). The worst are the ones on welfare.

It seems a simple first step would be to make welfare based on school grades of the kids. Make the parents care about how well the kids do by basing welfare amounts on results.

Divide the welfare in half, with half going to the parent (which will remain the same), and half divided up among the kids. For the kids grades…

A = +10%
B = normal
C = normal
D = -25%
F = -50%

Dropout = none.

You would obviously have to have checks in place for when parents pressure teachers to change grades, but something like this would at least pressure welfare parents to start caring!

And when I say welfare, I mean all of it… money, EBT/food stamps, everything!

dominigan on June 10, 2015 at 12:35 PM

What do foodbanks have to do with school as well?

Mitoch55 on June 10, 2015 at 11:43 AM

Depends on the community, of course… but as an example, if a food bank means kids can stay in school instead of having to drop out to help support the family,that would give those kids the chance to graduate.

malclave on June 10, 2015 at 12:50 PM

school should be completely voluntary…..that way those who want to learn and advance toward a career can do so unobstructed and undistracted and those who want to lead brave new lifestyles of gangbanging, drugs, and welfare can do so without being hassled by truancy complaints. I see no reason for encouraging people who have no aptitude and no desire to attend school at any age.

clandestine on June 10, 2015 at 10:55 AM

I’d like to see the levels of welfare compensation tied to education. You chose to drop out and not contribute to society – you get a smaller handout.

Hill60 on June 10, 2015 at 1:02 PM

Good work if you can get it, as the saying goes, but are these students in any way ready to succeed in either academia or the work force? It doesn’t sound it.

Ah, sweet irony.

GAbred on June 10, 2015 at 1:51 PM

we don’t need no edu-ma-cation.

skool ain’t cool, you fool

actin’ white, readin’ books

don’t need no teachers dirty looks

we is learnin’ 2b crooks

Senator Philip Bluster on June 10, 2015 at 2:09 PM

bobs1196 on June 10, 2015 at 10:54 AM

I batted several eyes AND got nauseous. It’s un freaking real. I feel like I’m living in bizzarro earth or something. Daycare for high schoolers?

Holy crap.

dogsoldier on June 10, 2015 at 2:12 PM

Smaller classes does not sound great to me. Many European and Asian schools which do much better with public schools have much larger classes. The difference in outcome is much better discipline.

burt on June 10, 2015 at 3:16 PM

Chicago is a deep blue city, right?

HumpBot Salvation on June 10, 2015 at 3:23 PM

If liberals/the educational system can’t call a male, male and can’t call a female, female, don’t be surprised when “students” going through “school” have no life skills, can’t sit in class, read, do basic math or take tests. It’s far more important for them to be “sensitive”. And we certainly wouldn’t want to trigger anyone by exposing them to the word “no”.

It’s pretty easy to see why machines are taking over more and more work.

talkingpoints on June 10, 2015 at 4:31 PM

At the high school graduation, the students were upset because the popular and athletic Tom was not graduating with them. The students began chanting “Let Tom graduate, Let Tom graduate.”

The principal was in a good mood. He walked to the lecturn and said, “Tom, I know you are in the audience. Please stand up. Now Tom, I am going to give you one more chance.” A cheer went up from the other students.

The principal continued, “Tom, if I have 5 apples in one hand and 5 apples in my other hand, how many apples do I have?”

Tom thinks for a minute and then very hesitantly answers, “Ummm . . . 10 apples?”

Suddenly, the students take up another chant: “Give Tom another chance, Give Tom another chance.”
===

Thank you, thank you very much.

Mallard T. Drake on June 10, 2015 at 5:54 PM

And for too many kids in Chicago and many other large cities, that’s clearly not happening. The sad result is that a lot of those children will never really stand a chance later in life.

And it is mostly in Democratic run cities (see Chicago). The Democrats keep running everything into the ground and destroying great cities and civilizations. They then scream that it was not their fault and that it would have worked if only the Republicans had allowed them to destroy it faster. Sigh.

Poor kids. I pity anyone who has to grow up in a liberal city.

Theophile on June 10, 2015 at 11:52 PM