Tuesday, April 08, 2008

U.S. to Require States to Use a Single School Dropout Formula

Published: April 1, 2008

New York Times

Moving to sweep away the tangle of inaccurate state data that has obscured the severity of the nation’s high school dropout crisis, Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings will require all states to use one federal formula to calculate graduation and dropout rates, Bush administration officials said on Monday.

The requirement would be one of the most far-reaching regulatory actions taken by any education secretary, experts said, because it would affect the official statistics issued by all 50 states and each of the nation’s 14,000 public high schools.

Ms. Spellings will announce her action at a so-called dropout prevention summit in Washington on Tuesday, the officials said. The summit is organized by a group beginning a national campaign intended to reduce dropout rates.

“In the coming weeks, I will take administrative steps to ensure that all states use the same formula to calculate how many students graduate from high school on time — and how many drop out,” Ms. Spellings said in remarks prepared for delivery on Tuesday and made available to The New York Times.

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