In response to newly calculated graduation rates

We recently published a post titled, “DeKalb’s graduation rate under the new state formula: 58.65%” which listed graduation rates school by school in DeKalb. The new calculations showed that Cross Keys graduation rate plummeted from 85.1% to 48.34% using the new state formula. Kim Gokce, founder of the Cross Keys Foundation then shared with us the human side to the story, as told by a Cross Keys graduate. We need to remember that these are young human beings, with hopes and dreams. They are not test scores. They need and deserve our support, encouragement and mentorship to help place them on a pathway to success in the future.

From Kim:

Cathy’s essay below about her journey to self-worth and education at Cross Keys is a 360 degree view of how challenging the path through high school is for many of our youth. With the help of a loving and dedicated CK faculty and with exposure to Athena’s Warehouse empowerment programs and inspiring volunteers, young women like Cathy in our poorest communities get a view into a future they’ve never imagined or been exposed to in their circles.

One of nine children, Cathy watched her older sisters lose their educational opportunities through teen pregnancies. As the first in her family history to graduate from high school, Cathy shows how positive change can be achieved through exposure to development opportunities and mentorship by women role models.

I’m afraid that the realities behind the low graduation rates among our populations are very stark and not really in the scope of what our schools can address. All I demand of our public systems is that they provide equity in capital distribution (facilities and amenities) and equal access to quality curriculum options to these students. I don’t expect DeKalb to change the social realities – just treat all students equitably in budgets and programs.

Engagement by organizations like Athena’s Warehouse and other similar groups can make a huge difference on the social and empowerment side of the effort. Please consider volunteering with or supporting such an organization. I have seen the results of their efforts first-hand and they are changing lives forever for better with valuable information and loving mentoring. But I should just let Cathy talk …

“Proud of being a woman”

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Hosting a dialogue among parents, educators and community members focused on improving our schools and providing a quality, equitable education for each of our nearly 100,000 students. ~ "ipsa scientia potestas est" ~ "Knowledge itself is power"
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11 Responses to In response to newly calculated graduation rates

  1. gah6 says:

    Athena’s Warehouse is one of Atlanta’s best non-profit. Their biggest fundraiser, an adult prom, will be Friday, April 27 at Sutra Lounge in midtown.

  2. anothercomment says:

    We have to stop using Teen age pregnancy as an excuse. While my own mother dropped out of high school in 1942, the same year as my Aunt was born ( my grandmother would have been 46). I was officially the first child she had after she married at 32 and had me at 35. She became a Nanny for a wealthy family in Connecticut. While my Aunt grew up as my grandparents child. All three of my mother’s official daughter’s born while she was married graduated from college. My Mother in the interium made enough money to buy her parents and younger sisters a house in a middle class subdivision. The baby sister grew up leading a solid middle class life with two parents and living with older sisters and brother’s sending money home to support their parents and her.

  3. Achelous says:

    All of this math seems a bit sketchy to me. Seems like we could just submit student names at the beginning of high school from each district in the state to the GBOE, and assign a statewide student number to each student. As they graduate, we would have a more accurate picture of where each child ends up and if they graduate. While I’m not a proponent of more statewide interference in our district, it seems that these numbers are instrumental in our state’s success. If they are that important, don’t use a math equation, and simply track each student. If they all have numbers issued by a central database, and each district has the capability to sync with that database each year, we would have a direct number minus students that go to other states. Something tells me that it would be a bit higher than two thirds.

  4. justwatch says:

    That is what is happening. All students in the state have a unique ID. The problem is that some kids simply disappear and thus are counted as drop outs, which many of them may be. I would like to see the rate calculated without the special ed and esol students who get extra years.

  5. Anon says:

    The fail rate at our local high school was pretty high when I was actively monitoring it… like 50% per discipline (including the things you might expect like math and science and social studies and english-particularly for the ESOLs but also for gym, band, foreign language, art and other electives…….) for 9th grade — I think some of this reflected teachers who were out of control and who didn’t want to help kids (cynical I know) and some of this is kids who were not ready for high school or English language high school (e.g. ESOLs integrated after 6 weeks of the ESOL program) but it does tell me that there is something very wrong going wrong at the local level that is being swept under the carpet… when about half of the kids starting 9th grade actually graduate 12th (give or take and based on casual monitoring of one “top” high school over 5 years), there’s something worth paying attention to and changing — my top two ideas: (1) better ESOL programs and (2) better VoTech programs/options.

  6. dorobins says:

    Are we missing the point here? It seems to me the point Cathy was tyring to make is that there are cultural barriers in some areas of our society that are keeing young adults from achieving their potential. These cultural barriers are not something that are easily broken down. Fortunately, there are some non-profits that are making an effort to break them down. And if they can get through to enough young men and women, those yound adults can continue to break down those barriers from within their micro-cultures. In terms of the graduation statistics – yeah, the formula could be somewhat flawed, but it’s not off by that much. How do we fix it? I don’t know, but I do know the answer is not to explain away the reasons but rather to look a the reasons and find a way to help.

  7. @ just watch

    Are you sure about this? All students in the state have a unique ID? Please direct us to the source of your information. Thanks!

  8. HSTeacher says:

    Students are given a GTID number (Georgia Testing ID). I’m not sure if that’s what justwatch is talking about or if/how the number is used to track students graduating.

  9. Dunwoody Mom says:

    All students have a Student # and GTID #. Both items can be located on Report Card.

  10. Dekalb Taxpayer says:

    All students have had a state id for at least 5 years. They switched from a school system id to a state id. They have a state Student ID. They also have a GTID (Georgia Testing ID number) that comes from the state. I just know this from years ago when it was changed, but here is a link where you see they have a GaDOE Student ID as well as a GTID:

    See slide 32

  11. justwatch says:

    The state is definitely tracking students. So if a child enrolls freshman year at Clarkston and then moves for sophomore year to S. Gwinnett and then to South Cobb as a junior, the state knows not to count that child as a dropout against Clarkston.
    The challenge is the kids that simply disappear — move to another state and start over, because they have done so poorly, return to their home country where their records from here aren’t needed, or just disappear. (I knew a young lady a few years ago who had to leave an abusive home in the middle of the night to go live with her sister in another state. No idea if she ever formally withdrew.)

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