Graduation rates

Stay in school!

Today the Everyone Graduates Center issued a report (pdf) on graduation rates. Missouri was one of the states going against the trend and improving its rates. Yeah! While we didn’t make as great of gains as states like Tenn., we weren’t as far behind to start with either, so I would rather be in our position. In fact we are one of the states with the higher graduation rates. Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and Wisconsin have the highest graduation rates.

As Missouri increases its graduation requirements, which go into effect for the class of 2010 (e.g. 3 math courses instead of 2 and 24 credits instead of 22), I wonder how that will affect the graduation rates. States such as Alabama improved grad rates while tightening standards, so it can be done.

Defining graduation rates seems to be a problem as various states have traditionally defined it differently. In fact the percent for Missouri given in the report mentioned earlier is different (and lower) than the percent given on the DESE website. Just trying to do some preliminary research is frustrating, to say the least.

Whatever the definition used, the city of St. Louis has decreasing graduation rates instead of improving (62 percent in 2004 to 49.8 in 2008). Because of the sheer size of the district, helping the city with its problem helps the state.