As California tries out a new, improved way of measuring the dropout rate, school districts are stuck juggling the old method and the new one in the quest to figure out the severity of the problem.
It sounds like a numbers issues, but it goes to the heart of a very human one: Are kids slipping away or not? And are schools getting better at tackling the problem?
California schools began reporting a different way of tracking dropouts that tracks what happened to the students who entered high school as freshmen four years ago. Schools used to track dropouts by gathering data about how many students disappeared one year at a time, then estimating a total rate.