Detroit Public Schools Superintendent Lamont Satchel released the following statement in response to a study on the District’s graduation rates:
“A study released Tuesday by Education Week, a national trade publication based in suburban Washington, reported that the District’s graduation rate for the 2003-04 school year was 25 percent. Nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact, our graduation rate for that year was a little over 60 percent and has continued to rise. It was 67.8 percent for the 2004-05 school year. Preliminary indications are that it will be about the same for the 2005-06 year. In contrast, the dropout rate, which measures the number of students who do not earn diplomas, is currently 10 percent.
Education Week’s study is intellectually dishonest and is based on flawed data. The data is a mere projection that fails to take into account the number of high school students who leave our District for charter schools, nearby school districts or who move out of the area. Even the authors of the study admit as much.
The study’s projections also failed to take into account many of the measures we have put in place to retain students, such as the second chance program, which consistently graduates hundreds of students each year, summer school and our ability to quickly identify students who are at risk for dropping out. Such measures, coupled with our growing ability to better track the movement of students, has contributed enormously to the District’s rising graduation rate.
Like other school districts in Michigan, we do not come up with our own graduation numbers.