IG: Ed. Dept. Has Been Too Lenient on Graduation Rates
With minor fanfare last week, Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings announced that she would require states to use a uniform method of calculating graduation rates.
By the end of the week, the Department of Education's inspector general released a report saying states would be closer to that goal if the department hadn't cut them slack on graduation rates.
"If the department had been more assertive in requiring states to implement a longitudinal student-tracking system shortly after the enactment of NCLB, all states now could have four years of student data," the report says. "Instead, less than a quarter of the states are using a system that complies with the requirements of the law."
In its response, the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education says that the department offered states "reasonable flexibility" if they didn't have the data records needed to calculate an accurate graduation rate.
The office also says states will need until 2012-13 to "fully implement" a graduation-rate formula that requires states to track the percentage of students who earn a high school diploma within four years of starting high school.