87 percent of New Jersey high school students get their diplomas, giving the state the highest graduate rate in the nation according to a review, the Diplomas Count 2011 report, released today. Not only did the Garden State increase its pool of high school graduates by 11.1 percent from 1998 to 2008; it has the highest graduation rate among Hispanic and African-American students.
So what does our governor say about this achievement?
That number is too high!
The Star-Ledger reports that, rather than trumpeting an accomplishment most people (most governors) would be proud to brag about, Chris Christie’s administration has “quickly warned the state’s number of high school graduates will likely decline once a more rigorous, federally mandated method for calculating the statistic takes effect next fall”:
The figure calculated by the report’s authors falls 6 percentage points below the 93 percent graduation rate the state Department of Education published for the 2007-2008 school year. The report’s methodology reflects the type of rigorous standards Cerf calls for, according to Editorial Projects in Education Research Center, a nonprofit organization based in Bethesda, Md.
Cerf could not be reached to discuss the apparent discrepancy.
Speaking on behalf of a group Christie loves (publicly) to hate, the New Jersey Education Association, Steve Wollmer comments:
“The cup is always half-empty with this administration. Their agenda is to privatize education, and they never miss an opportunity to demean the achievements of our public schools, even when the criticism is unfounded.”
Indeed, the Christie administration’s less-than-glowing response to the report — which suggests that, contrary to what the governor says, NJ teachers are doing a fine old job of teaching students — shows how determined Christie is to recast figures, facts, etc. into what he wants them to say. Looks like he’s trying to take us all on another ride.
Photo by Bob Jagendorf.