Monday, December 13, 2010

What, Good News About Nashville Public Schools?

Posted By on Mon, Dec 13, 2010 at 8:01 AM

In the CP, Joey Garrison has the welcome news that the graduation rate continues to climb in Metro public schools. Though the exact numbers haven't been made public — and Garrison reports there's still plenty of room for concern — the news is part of a heartening trend in Tennessee public schools, where graduation rates have risen dramatically since the state posted a dismal 59.6 percent in 2002:

Later this month, the Tennessee Department of Education will release Metro schools’ latest “report card,” which includes updated graduate rate figures. Though the numbers aren’t yet public, the ascendance will continue.

“When the report card comes out this year, we’ll see a significant gain this year also,” Director of Schools Jesse Register said. “I’m very pleased with that.”

For a school system that has historically made headlines for the wrong reasons, the story of the district’s improving graduation rates is a silver lining amid some continued pessimism. Perhaps as soon as this month, the state will release the district’s updated federal No Child Left Behind test results, and given increased academic standards, there’s a good chance MNPS could once again fail to reach benchmarks. Amid that kind of news, the graduation rate is something Nashville’s education community can legitimately tout.

To keep things in perspective, Garrison notes that even though Tennessee raised its overall graduation rate to 74.9 percent in 2009 — a gain of more than 15 percent — that still only puts the state at the national average of 75 percent. But he also says the state is leading the nation in shaking off its "dropout factory" standing.

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