New Study Questions Rising High School Graduation Rates

Alex Pfeiffer White House Correspondent
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Chicago points to rising graduation rates as a sign of success in the classroom, though an NPR study says otherwise.

The national rate of high school graduation is 81 percent and Chicago among other cities is playing catch-up. It’s rate has risen from 61 percent to 63.

NPR found that Chicago among other cities have been using questionable methods to prop up this number. Becky Vevea of WBEZ Chicago looked into the issue.

“Basically, we found that many high schools in the city were mislabeling students when they left. They were saying they were moving out of town or going to private schools when, in reality, they were enrolling at the district’s alternative schools or, in some cases, GED programs,” Vevea said.

Chicago doesn’t deny this mislabeling issue saying that it isn’t unique to them but exists throughout the country.

This isn’t the only fishy thing though going on nationwide in school districts.

“In New Jersey, if you fail the first-round high school exit exam, there’s a second exam you can take — an easier one. It’s untimed, and it consists of just one single question per subject. In Camden, half the senior class failed not just the first test but the second one too,” Sarah Gonzalez of WNYC told NPR.

On top of that, there is an appeals process in New Jersey that allows you so submit just a graded Algebra problem for example if you failed the course.

The system is set up to help students graduate, not prepare them for college.

“According to a recent report, 45 percent of CPS graduates begin their senior year not doing well enough academically to attend a four-year college.”