Spellings: Graduation Rates Should Be Uniform, Disaggregated
Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings says she will soon propose rules that would require all states to use the same formula to calculate high schools' graduation rates. She said she would require schools to disaggregate data by socioeconomic status, race, and other categoriesjust as schools are required to do for test scores under NCLB.
She announced the plan in a speech she delivered at an event kicking off a series of summits on drop outs sponsored by America's Promise Alliance. But she left many questions unanswered.
What formula will she propose that states use, I asked her after her speech.
She didn't want to give details, she said, because she didn't want to speak publicly about it while the Office of Management reviews her plan.
Would it look like the formula that governors agreed to use in 2005?
"I don't think people will be surprised by the approach that we take," she added.
Will states be required to use graduation rates in determining whether schools and districts are meeting AYP?
"If I told you now, you wouldn't have anything to do between now and the end of the month," she said.
I assured her that I had plenty of other things I could work on. But she wouldn't budge.
I'll be working on a short story for edweek.org. It will be up by the end of the day. In the mean time, you may want to read Sam Dillon's take for The New York Times. He got an advanced peek at the speech, but not much else.
Also, see this statement from Rep. George Miller, D-Calif. The chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee says he endorses the proposal for a uniform graduation rate, but he's disappointed that the Bush administration abandoned his bipartisan effort to reauthorize No Child Left Behind last year.