UPS

Higher graduation rates sound good, but what do they really tell us?

Higher graduation rates sound good, but what do they really tell us?

State schools Supt. Tom Torlakson had some good news this month about California schools: The high school graduation rate rose to 83%, up 8.5 percentage points since 2010. That means brighter prospects for at least some of the newly minted graduates, and reflects some excellent work by teachers and school leaders.

His announcement, however, raised a crucial question that the state needs to answer: How much of the increase indicates real educational improvement, and how much of it was attained through short cuts that allowed districts to boost their numbers without teaching young people the skills expected of a high school graduate? There have been disconcerting signs that too much...

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