Parents Campaign chief challenges accuracy of school ‘dropout factories’ report

October 3, 2012

Education

Nancy Loome, executive director of the education advocacy group The Parents Campaign, says she has set the record straight about a claim by the Center for Public Policy that dozens of Mississippi high schools have become “dropout factories.”

Many of the schools named in the report were erroneously identified as having excessive dropout rates, Loom said in an email to Parents Campaign members and supporters.

“Some of the rates listed were off by almost 20 percentage points,” Loome wrote.

“I spoke with the director of the center, and he acknowledged that the information was incorrect. It has been removed from the center’s website.”

Loome said the author of the report used a “very crude methodology” that simply took ninth grade enrollment in the high school in one year and divided it by the number of graduates four years later.

“This methodology fails to account for students who transfer to another school, special education students who complete their coursework but don’t get a regular diploma, students who are retained and graduate in five years, or high growth districts that have added a high school and moved students from one school to another,” she said.

“This sort of sloppy methodology skews the results in both directions, falsely accusing some good schools of having a dropout problem and failing to identify some that really do.”

 

 

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