Wednesday, July 30

Report cards, grad rates, AWOL as usual

Just over two weeks ago, we asked -- and not for the first time -- about high-school graduation rates and school report cards. (The Times asked, too, but didn't get a clear answer.) The New York State Department of Education said in May that they would release the data by the end of June; nothing doing. In July, they said the data would post by the end of July. It's the 30th. Anyone here think we're going into August without knowing how schools did, and whether more kids are graduating than in years previous?

School report cards help parents (and professionals, like principals and teachers) learn more about schools by reporting detailed ("granular") data on enrollment, testing, teacher qualifications and more. The grad rate is the education acid test -- how many kids finish high school is a pretty effective yardstick, and the one against which Bloomberg and Klein measure their success.

The city and state disagreed for years on how to define and count high-school grads. This year, they've reached agreement on who qualifies as a graduate (excluding GED completers, for example). High schools rise and fall on grad rates and other accountability data; don't parents -- the taxpayers who support the schools -- deserve timely reporting on how the city's students are doing? The state and the city's DOE owe the accountability they cite as a foundation of responsible, progressive school reform to the people who pay their salaries.

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