Over the weekend, the New York Times ran a interesting article about the ways in which states misreport and under-report their on-time graduation rate to the federal government. The Times points to a 13.8 percent difference between the number of South Carolina public school children who receive diplomas four years after entering high school and the number of mere “completers” as reported by the SC Department of Education.
A posting about the article, and the national move toward a uniform measure, has already been written by Jennifer at the blog Elonkey. She laments that while four-in-ten public school children fail to graduate, Jim Rex is actually applying for participation in a federal program that further weakens NCLB accountably reporting standards.
South Carolina’s lowest in the nation graduation rate is not only a problem for those dropouts who fail to complete school; it costs all taxpayers in the state. Brian Gottlob of the Friedman Foundation reported last June that:
Over an expected lifetime of 50 years, one year’s class of dropouts will cost South Carolina $4.9 billion. These cost estimates only include costs associated with three sources: lost revenue from taxes and fees, increased Medicaid costs and increased incarceration costs. Because dropouts also incur many other public costs, the true public cost of dropouts is larger than $3,193 per dropout per year.
Public schools in South Carolina spend more than $11,000 per student. This is two and half times the average private school tuition rate in the state. The sustained failure of SC public schools to produce competitive graduates – and their dishonesty in obscuring that fact – is costing students and taxpayers millions. Call or email your representative and ask if they support School Choice or, if like Jim Rex, they hid behind excuses and misinformation.