Complacency is Not an Option: Kansas Needs to Drop its Dropout Rate

From our friends at the The Flint Hills Center for Public Policy.

Complacency is Not an Option: Kansas Needs to Drop its Dropout Rate
Report compares dropout rates for the 20 largest districts in Kansas

(WICHITA) – Is a high school graduation rate of 39 percent acceptable? That was the record of USD 457 Garden City and USD 501 Topeka, according to a report issued by the Flint Hills Center for Public Policy. USD 500 Kansas City did only slightly better, with a 49 percent rate.

“Colin Powell recently called the number of students who drop out of school every year a ‘catastrophe,’” says John R. LaPlante, Education Policy Fellow at the Wichita-based think tank. “Kansas must take make some institutional changes to address its own dropout catastrophe.”

Using the same data employed by Powell’s group in its recent report, “Cities in Crisis,” the Flint Hills Center looked at the 20 largest districts in the state, which together enroll over half of all public school students in the state. You can read the Kansas-specific report, Complacency is Not an Option: Kansas Needs to Drop its Dropout Rate, at www.flinthills.org.

“If you compare the graduation rates from Gen. Powell’s group with the numbers from the Kansas Report Card,” says LaPlante, “you’ll find that the Report Card numbers tend to be higher. In 16 of the 20 districts, the graduation rates are higher on the Report Card by an average of 16 percentage points. The performance of schools may be worse than we thought.”

A few districts did very well, with USD 233 Olathe, USD 266 Maize and USD 497 Lawrence graduating over 90 percent of their students in four years. But in the state’s largest district, USD 259 Wichita, only 60 percent of students graduated on time.

Flint Hills Center for Public Policy • 250 N. Water, Suite 216 • Wichita, KS 67202-1215 • (316) 634-0218

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