Last May, San Diego Unified Superintendent Cindy Marten announced that 92 percent of the class of 2016 was on track to graduate. Trustees and supporters hailed it as a colossal success for Marten’s administration.
Marten made the new graduation rates the centerpiece of her recent State of the District address.
“We raised standards, we implemented our A-G coursework and our students rose to meet that challenge. Of course, none of this would be possible without our amazing teachers, administrators and classified staff,” Marten said, referring to college-prep curriculum students are now required to complete.
That’s a big part of what made the numbers so remarkable: Not only had the district achieved the highest graduation rate on record – it did it so under far more rigorous standards.
But 92 percent was not the percent of students who began high school as part of the class of 2016. In fact, only 65 percent of the students who started in district-managed schools when they were freshmen stayed in district-managed schools through their senior year.
Rather, the 92 percent graduation rate refers to students who fit a very specific definition.
We Stand Up for You. Will You Stand Up for Us?
You're welcome, SDUSD, for helping to improve your grad rate by taking so many of your students who were not on track to finish in your district school.
Sincerely, San Diego County Independent Study Charter Schools.
For the last 50 years, the High School Graduation Rates across this nation have hovered at about 60%, of the 40% that fell through the cracks, 20% were called drop-outs, and 20% took GED Exams. But what they never told you is that half the kids who did graduate, couldn't pass a 10th-grade level exit exam, and they still got diplomas. That's why this country is in the state that it is in today. I've tried to correct it. I put my faith in Michael McQuary, current President of the Board at SDUSD. We need to do better.
It looks as though, in spite of my best efforts, the San Diego Unified School District has, once again, moved the goal posts and successfully clouded the issue of Graduation Rates, to avoid accountability. When 40% of students don't graduate, and half of the other 60% can not pass the 10th grade level exit exam (the first three times they take it), we have failing public schools.
Those teachers unions that shit all over Charter Schools, that avoid accountability at all costs, they are the responsible parties here. We need to get rid of the Administration, we need to increase competition between educators until we can produce the minds capable of critical thinking that we need for our citizens in the 21st Century democracy. I've seen only one place that does this successfully, High Tech High Charter School.
The SDUSD should stop playing with the numbers and adopt a HTH system without administrators.
@Sean M CA state law requires new students to state their old school and contact should be made to get transcripts, and other records, too.
I suppose you could call this another October surprise, even though we are in November. I will stop chuckling some time soon.
I thought Cindy Marten was fired long ago for all the corruption VOSD discovered last time around?
Great work (again) Mario , apparently math isn't one of those subjects you need to pass in order to graduate SD Unified.
Graduation Rate...seems to be the most important focus for Cindy Marten's tenure, so far.
When she received a glowing evaluation and contract extension, the school board took turns using the graduating rate as justification for the praise and raise.
Sounds like it was reported and celebrated prematurely. The official numbers won't be announced until Spring of 2017, I think this says.
Most troubling, your sentence, "District staff members have not accepted repeated requests to meet in person, to explain the numbers."
Cheryl Hibbeln should be the one to clarify and answer questions.
Next assignment: Find out what Francine Maxwell was referring to, when she commented at the last two meetings about the Budget Fiasco..(Comments can be seen, by viewing the 10/25/16 school board meeting, on Youtube...Four minutes into meeting)
She said there will be a new CFO in early November. Said the budget didn't balance and the current CFO was reluctant to sign off on it. School board went ahead and voted for the budget...and the CFO left/was asked to leave? Francine mentioned that the district would be insolvent and there should be an outside audit. Any there there?
@Scott Lewis @DistrictDeeds wordpress com @MarioKoran Great job of pulling the numbers and this story together Mario! We came up with similar numbers when preparing our District Deeds blog post this past May titled “The San Diego Unified Supt. Cindy Marten Diploma Mill Scam-Introduction”
Since that post, like VOSD, we have been gathering the methods employed from school sites up to the District Office to create the fake graduation numbers touted by Marten. We have found that many District employees have been put in situations by Marten and her cronies to pay more attention to manipulating graduation rates rather than towards a REAL education producing a REAL diploma.
For proof of the dissonance between the District Propaganda and fact, just check out the overall CAASP scores for SDUSD in 2015 with only 41% of students "met standards" and above with only 37% of 11th graders "met standards' and above.
look forward to what you will be uncovering and we hope we can help your
investigation with information we are gathering and will be posting.
Once again…great job...keep it up!
There’s an old management axiom in the private sector that goes something like this: Anyone who is allowed to determine how his/her performance will be measured, do the measuring and report the results will always be Superman.
@Bill Bradshaw Excellent point. I hope to keep this axiom and others in my mental quivver.
Hmmm.... I'm an educational system skeptic in many cases, but in this one it really looks like the exclusions from the metrics are pretty valid.
As with all such metrics if everyone just measured everything (with no exclusions) then we'd all be apples-to-apples, but the resulting data wouldn't be too actionable.
Not unless you expect the district to keep people from moving their kids around (which I would be very much against...)
@Todd Maddison I don't think we argued the exclusions were not valid. They touted the 92% number for many weeks and took us quite a long time to figure out how they got to that. We found it, simply, interesting that to get to 92% thousands of kids had to go to charter schools and others elsewhere and we don't know how they performed or whether they were on track to graduate.
@Scott Lewis @Todd Maddison I think that "on track to graduate" may be overoptimistic, because, as you described, this is the first class that actually has to meet the "more rigorous A-G standards." The administration claims confidence to report graduation rates early, before the testing, based on their previous experience with lesser standards, so last year's experience may not project accurately to this year.
The number of students who transferred to charter and home schooling are rightfully no longer the responsibility of the public school district; they will be accounted for in the graduation rate of the charter school and/or the responsibility of their parents. BTW, you might be able to get GPA data from some of the charter schools that accept transfer students from the SD district.
I too am a skeptic of any organization that evaluates its own performance. There are an infinite number of ways to massage the data; for instance, you might manage a 100% graduation rate if the rate was calculated from the number of students who actually graduate divided by the number of student graduate candidates who attended the graduation ceremony. And in that case, commendations and bonuses for all!
@Ed Price @Scott Lewis @Todd Maddison Sure, "on track" is a projection, all projections eventually run into reality.. Will be interesting to see how the projections meet with reality.
Always bugs me that it takes so incredibly long for the actuals to be reported (in anything related to school metrics), particularly because it's all electronic these days, but I guess that's how it is...
In a way, it seems that having graduation rates for charters broken out is a good thing because it allows at least some visibility into comparative performance - although of course the "self-selecting" nature of charter students makes it hard to really consider them as equivalent metrics...
@Ed Price @Scott Lewis @Todd Maddison Charter Schools ARE Public Schools, and must be chartered BY the district, they should be included in the graduation statistics for the district (perhaps with an asterisk*) , especially if they transferred into charters AFTER Middle School (8th grade).
To allow 46% of the student to fall through the cracks, then claim 92% graduated at higher standards is totally misleading and unacceptable. State law requires that ALL new students registering in a new district inform their old district by requesting transcripts be sent, so, we should be able to track every kid within the state, those who move to other states or nations should be asked to inform the district as well, but in any case should be counted as a number of missing students.
This is pure game play. They are still only achieving a 60% graduation rate, same as it's ever been, which means that 40% get GEDs or don't ever graduate. This has got big implications now that they are asking for another $3000/student/year.