“How many children drop out of school in South Carolina?”
“What is the graduation rate in South Carolina high schools?”
“How many students in OUR school district will graduate from high school?…”
(HINT: Scroll down and find out!)
It is hard to get a straight answer when it comes to questions about graduates and dropouts in South Carolina’s public schools.
A recent report indicates that in the senior class of 2008-09, only 42,947 (or 66.3% of those enrolled in 9th grade four years earlier) graduated public high school with an earned diploma. In other words, 1-in-3 students (or 122 pupils each day) dropped out, were held back, or failed to complete the full diploma requirements
Already some in the media are raising questions about the validity of so-called “statewide gains” and the wide disparity between numbers cited by Jim Rex, those reported in the Education Week report, and the figures publicly available on the US Department of Education’s website.
The State Newspaper (6/9) reported:
The on-time graduation rate reported by Education Week and the State Department of Education differ, and there’s no clear consensus on why.
The Anderson Independent Mail (6/9) reported:
…But, those [Education Week] figures are misleading, said Jim Foster, spokesman for the South Carolina Department of Education. The graduation rates in Education Week are estimates that over the years have resulted in disparities from one report to the next, he said.
The Greenwood Today (6/9) reported:
The graduation figures in the Education Week publication, seen as a national standard for K12 education policy and assessment, vary greatly from higher numbers released by the South Carolina State Department of Education.
Attention is also being drawn to that fact that South Carolina has not released district-specific graduation levels since the 2004-05 school year for the federal government’s uniform rankings. In that 2004-05 school year, the statewide graduation rate was 52.23%.
The graduation rate varied from 87% in York District 4 to 29% in Lee County School District.
Thankfully, these figures can be found in Common Core of Data section of the US DOE website.
Below is a district-by-district list of enrollment and diplomas numbers for the South Carolina public high school class of 2005 drawn from the Federally reported data (again, this is the most recent year for which detailed data -not estimates and averages- is available):
SOUTH CAROLINA STATE TOTALS
64,027 (9th Graders enrolled in 2001-2)
38,657 (12th Graders in 2004-5)
33,439 (Diplomas issued in 2004-5)
52.23% (% of 9th graders who graduated in 4 school years)
ABBEVILLE COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT
348 (9th Graders enrolled in 2001-2)