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Betty Burney, disingenuous to the end

At tonight’s board meeting she said the NGA graduation rate now had us at 71 percent and that’s true, unfortunately the federal governments rate had us at 63 percent. Why does it matter, well friends it is because this year we are going to have to be on the federal governments scale, a scale that doesn't just stop counting kids that enter alternative education programs like the NGA graduation rate does.

                                              Fed                 NGA 

Furthermore how can we have an honest debate about graduation rates without talking about the county’s liberal use of grade recovery and gentlemen’s C policies? The answer is we can’t but that doesn't stop Mrs. Burney from using cherry picked stats to make the district seem better that is it.

Oh and just so you know, only 54% of our African American kids graduate on time a stat Mrs. Burney wouldn't think about telling you..

To see the states own report on graduation rates click the link below:



  1. Say Chris, why don't you elaborate on the difference in the two graduation rates? People should know that the NGA formula counts students who graduate with a Special diploma as graduates while the Federal formula does not. Don't you think the district deserves to take a little credit for taking care of the Exceptional students? Or do you consider only the "regular" kids important?

  2. I have spent the bulk of my career as a special education teacher so I know how well the district treats its special ed kids and in many instances it is a travesty.

    The commenter is right there is a difference in the two formulas, though the NGA formula also doesn’t include kids that dropped out to take the GED or entered some other program as well and I am not saying the federal government’s measurement is without flaws. Furthermore to be honest I don’t think grad rates should be our chief barometer of success, graduating kids ready to be productive citizens whether it takes a little longer or not should be. My point was the district is cherry picking a stat that makes them appear to be doing better than we actually are. How can we have an honest debate about education, how can we hope to improve when appearing to do well rather than doing well is the district’s chief priority?

  3. OK Chris, then using the Federal formula, the graduation rate for 2007 was 51.5% compared to the Federal rate for 2011 of 63.3%. That is an increase of 11.8 percentage points. Go ahead, pick a formula, there are quite a number of them, but whichever one you pick, there has still been a substantial increase in the grad rate since Pratt-Dannals took over. I don't mean to imply that the grad rate is where it should be, but Jeez, give the teachers and schools a little credit for their hard work. And you can't account for an almost 12 percentage point increase simply by pointing at credit recovery as it hasn't been an option for the last four years. I mean, the kids still have to be successful in algebra 1, geometry, algebra 2 AND score proficient in both reading and math on the FCAT in order to receive a diploma.

  4. Now we are having a discussion.

    I have a friend who teaches algebra classes at a high school and he tells me that only one kid in all his algebra 2 sections could pass a legitimate algebra I class, but the kids are just pushed to him. Ask any English teacher in a neighborhood school if they think the kids are writing essays proficiently. I bet you won’t like the answer. Then ask if any teachers feel like they have been pressured to pass kids even if they don’t have the skills. Some teachers have told me they are given quotas.

    Out of the 15k kids who took grade recovery over the last three years, say just half of them (and I think it is more like 10%) had legitimate reasons for taking it, then that would be about a five percent bump to our graduation rate.

    I have no doubt that our teachers are working hard but I also have no doubt they are saddled with policies that hurt them and our kids too.

    So yes we have seen a rise in our graduation rate, I cannot refute that but how much of that is legitimate and how much is based on grade recovery and the county’s gentlemen C policy?