A hallmark of education reformers is their mendacity. Consider Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s glowing remarks about a charter school in Denver:
Stapleton does send 100% of its graduates to college, but there’s a slight wrinkle (boldface mine):
Actually it depends on what they mean by a 100 percent graduation rate. If they mean a 100 percent ‘cohort’ rate, meaning that all the students who began as 9th graders three years earlier, eventually graduated, then yes, that would be something. But if they just mean that all the seniors graduated, then that isn’t so much of a feat…
So I looked into the enrollments for the past four years at this school. Within a few minutes I learned that this school there were 144 9th graders in 2011, 129 10th graders in 2012, 98 11th graders in 2013, and now 89 12th graders in 2014. So their cohort graduation rate is more like 62%.
Just one more example of how charter school advocates lie with numbers. But what really matters is what happened to those other thirty either percent? I’m sure some left Denver and so on. But where and how did they end up? Ultimately, it’s not about winning a policy debate, but making sure every student has a good education. An education secretary shouldn’t ignore two out of five students, even if his Chicago buddy Rahm Emanuel does. As some asshole with a blog put it:
Regardless of educational philosophy, any educational movement that engages in slight of hand, that tells ‘little’ lies in service of the Great Truth is ethically flawed and has no business being anywhere near political power. Or children.
It would be nice if education reports followed up on the ‘missing’ charter school kids.