States Hide Big High School Dropout Rates

They send 1 set of numbers to DC, keep another set at home
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Mar 20, 2008 10:18 AM CDT
States are seeing a rising number of high school dropouts.   (
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(Newser) – Many states report rosy high school graduation rates to Washington but publicize much lower figures at home, the New York Times reports. The higher rates often fail to account for the nation's growing legion of dropouts, but states are leery to give the feds bad numbers in part because of penalties associated with the No Child Left Behind Act. The education chief is considering a single federal formula to settle the issue.

California’s official graduation rate in DC is 83%, but the state website says 67%. Mississippi reports a rate of 87% to Washington but cites a figure of 63% in the state. When dropouts are factored in, the numbers drop. “We were losing about 13,000 dropouts a year, but publishing reports that said we had graduation rate percentages in the mid-80s,” said Mississippi's schools chief. “Mathematically, that just doesn’t work out.”