Local News

Kentucky Graduation Rates May Drop With New Standards

Kentucky has released graduation rates for the 2009-2010 school year. The rates are based off a new formula under No Child Left Behind and appear to have dipped, though that’s not an entirely accurate assessment.

“You shouldn’t go back and compare the rates that we’ve reported in the past with these new rates. The reason for that is the formulas are so different that there’s no good way to make a comparison,” said Lisa Gross, spokeswoman for the Kentucky Department of Education.

The new calculation is called the Averaged Freshman Graduation Rate (AFGR). Eventually every state will conform to the Cohort AFGR. It will make the method for reporting graduation rates uniform nationwide, said the U.S. Department of Education. But because of the stricter standards, graduation numbers may seem to drop, said Gross.

“People should not immediately assume that high schools are not doing as good of a job as they have been doing just because those numbers look a little lower,” she said.

Under Kentucky’s AFGR transitional formula the Jefferson County School District’s graduation rate is 75 percent. Under Cohort AFGR, that number would be around 69 percent.

Idaho, Kentucky and Puerto Rico are three territories that have requested more time to adhere to the new federal formula, wrote Elizabeth Utrup, assistant press secretary with the U.S. Department of Education, in an email.

Kentucky has three years to phase in the nation-wide Cohort AFGR. It will be more accurate in collecting data that can be broken down by sex and ethnicity, said the U.S. Department of Education.

Local News Politics

First Lady Beshear Speaks In Favor Of Graduation Bill

Kentucky First Lady Jane Beshear continues her crusade to raise the state’s drop out age from 16 to 18. She implored the House Education Committee Wednesday to approve the so-called Graduation Bill, which passed the House last year, but died in the Senate.

Mrs. Beshear says the current law hasn’t changed since 1934.

“In 1934, many of our students left school to go to the farms or go into the mines. Today, you can’t work on a farm or work in the mines without some education. As a matter of fact, you can’t even join the military unless you have a high school diploma,” she said.

The committee approved the bill 20-3, with Republican Representatives Bill Farmer, Jim DeCesare and Ben Waide voting no. The measure now awaits a House floor vote.

State of Affairs

Why Do Students Drop Out?

In 2009, about 6,500 students dropped out of schools in Kentucky alone. Statistics show that in their lifetime, dropouts earn about $200,000 less than high school graduates and more than $800,000 less than college graduates. Despite these startling facts, kids continue to forgo their high school diplomas. Why is this? Are they unmotivated, is the education system inadequate, or are there other external factors? Join us on Wednesday as we take a look at why so many kids are leaving school, what they and their families go through, and what’s being done to increase the graduation rate.

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